What’s up shredders! Let me start off by addressing the elephant in the room; you’re all asking yourselves “So-and-so from Fallujah’s favourite dance tracks? What the fuck?” The electronic world has a bad rap for three justified reasons: E, D and M. The EDM scene of the Skrillexs, Hardwells, and Aviccis are the Nickelback and Drowning Pools of electronic music. It’s cookie cutter, repetitive, over-produced garbage. The underground scene is going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment, that I have been involved with for about as long as I have been into metal. When people ask about ‘electronic music’, this is what I tell them to listen to…
Jon Hopkins – Collider
Jon Hopkins completely levelled the scene with his 2013 release Immunity. No one really knows if it’s techno, if it’s house, or if it’s glitch. The discussion ends with the consensus that he has crafted his own sound which has led to opportunities such as producing songs for Coldplay, while also working with Brian Eno on a number of film scores. While many of his tracks aren’t created for the dance floor, Jon Hopkins is the ‘producer for producers’.
Nina Kraviz – Ghetto Kraviz (Regal Sad Remix)
When I think of techno, this is the exact sound I think of; deep, dark, punishing, and atmospheric. I remember I first heard this track when I was in Berlin before our European tour with Carnifex. The club was dark, covered in dust, concrete walls, and hardly a strobe light to see where you were going. While I’m not a huge fan of Nina Kraviz, I do really enjoy some of the remixes that have spawned from her tracks. This track has such a good energy and has become an instant classic for me.
George Fitzgerald – Call It Love (Scuba’s Angel Dust Remix)
George Fitzgerald’s 2015 album Fading Love made it to the #1 spot on my list for the year. The album was so delicate and straightforward, so when one of my other favourite producers Scuba took his hand to a remix, the result was gold. The track harnesses the same momentum as the original but has a stronger dance floor drive and darker atmosphere surrounding it. The best part about this album (and many of the remixes surrounding it) is how melancholic and emotional the progressions are. This was an absolute banger from last year.
Henrik Schwarz/Âme/Dixon feat. Derrick L. Carter – Where We At Version 1
This track has a daunting name, I know. This track has been reworked and remixed so many times it’s hard to keep track, but Version 1 was the first one I heard and it’s been a staple in my collection since about 2010. I tend to enjoy songs that have a vocal element, without being too ‘sing-songy’, and this song has that care-free classic house vibe, but on a bed of darker melodies. This really characterises the ‘after hours house’ style, for tracks played as the sun is about to come up and you’re beginning to come down from whatever it was that you took hours earlier.
Mesck – No Shelter
Not every track on this list has to be a ‘four on the floor’. Dubstep is another genre that has been hijacked and manipulated on an unthinkable scale. A genre born in crime-ridden East-London that developed from a mixture of dub-reggae, garage, grime, and drum ‘n’ bass. Mesck is a producer I know on a personal level, and this track was the first dubstep track I heard that revealed dubstep’s dark, dubby roots. When you say you like ‘dubstep’ to the average person, it has the same effect as when you say you like ‘death metal’, their brain shuts off and their ears close. This is my favourite track of the genre hands down.
Daniel Avery – All I Need
This track was almost inescapable when it came out. Every mix dropped it, and it took on a bit of a mainstream acceptability because let’s be real; it’s just so goddamn catchy. It has possibly one of the catchiest chord progressions and vocal lines in any dance track in recent memory. I’ve seen Daniel Avery a number of times and he always puts on a different kind of set each time I see him. Daniel Avery has become one of the biggest names in the game through his unique sound design, residency on Rinse FM, and knack for catchy melodies.
Kangding Ray – Amber Decay
Kangding Ray is the side of techno where things get nutty and off the deep end. Having seen his live show, full of warping distorted bass, dissonant atmospheres and raw rhythmic elements, Kangding Ray shows that techno can teeter on the edges of not just genres, but your own sanity at times. He may be one of the most unique producers to come out of Berlin right now, and this track was the start of it all for me.
Maxime Dangles – Resilience
Maxime Dangles’ 2015 album Resilience was packed with quality, and the title track was certainly the most cinematic of the lot. He produces under the name DNGLS now, but this album was in my top ten from last year. The drum production is what always stands out, his kicks have this raw/hollow quality to them that is really recognisable and consistent in his productions. There is an acute ear for melody with each of Maxime’s tracks, with evolving arpeggios and catchy leads. This is a producer to watch in the coming year.
Ø Phase – Perplexed (RØdhad’s Extended Mix)
In the last two years I’ve become very keen on producer RØdhad’s Berlin-based label Dystopian. RØdhad himself, Vril and Recondite have all become permanent in my rotation. While I’d seen various Boiler Room sets here and there, it was this track that really drew me in. By now you may be discovering a theme in my selections; dark, atmospheric, melodic and relentless. I think what I look for in a track could be described the same way one might describe a Fallujah song, just in a different context.
Function & Inland – Odeon
I’ve followed Function for a long time, and this track really is special for me. The Vangelis-esque sound design and emotional progressions, I find myself revisited by nostalgic memories every time I hear this track. Function recently joined the Ostgut crown, an East Berlin imprint curated by the city’s infamous Berghain club. While I’ve never really been a huge fan of the label, I think Function has revitalised my interest in the label and this style as a whole. Odeon was one of the tracks that really solidified my loyalty to the techno genre.
Check out the below video to hear Alex’s thoughts on how the sound of dance and electronic music works within the world of metal.
Fallujah’s new album Dreamless is out now, via Nuclear Blast. They will be playing Tech-Fest in July.
Fallujah are also in the latest issue of Metal Hammer revealing how they’re not only pushing boundaries of death metal, but embracing sci-fi too!