ALEX UNDER with JAMIE KIDD , JAP_ , MARTIN McDOWELL at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Thursday (March 1). $10 before 11:30 pm, more after. www.tempo416.com Rating: NNNNN
Alex Under might fit the bill, but the New Pornographers probably weren't thinking of him when they wrote Sing Me Spanish Techno.
Under is at the forefront of the current wave of hot minimal producers out of Spain, cranking out experimental beats that bounce with an odd but effective sense of melody. The notion of someone trying to sing his mechanical, off-kilter synth lines conjures up comedy more than romance.
Under might appreciate that image. His own work – in particular his reworking, under the Dolly La Parton alias, of elements of cheesy 90s dance pop into sleek minimalist thumpers – has occasionally involved a certain subtle sense of humour. Watching serious techno nerds slowly recognize a Black Box sample wailing away in the background is always worth a giggle.
The work released under his own name tends to be less cheeky, marrying dissonance and pop hooks in a way that constantly builds tension, simultaneously teasing the listener with a release that's just around the corner. As one half of Música Charlista (alongside Damian Schwartz), he plays with jazz influences and indulges his melodic impulses, letting the loops and chords breathe a bit more.
In the past few years, his tracks have ended up on compilations by big-name DJs like Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Marco Carola and Misstress Barbara.
Of course, he DJs as well, but it's in his live performances that he goes through the larger spectrum of his sound, mixing and matching elements from his whole catalogue into a big, churning groove.
It's definitely not the most experimental or abstract side of the genre, but it is a good example of the positive side of the new-minimal fad that's swept through Europe recently.