Truncate – “First Phase” (Truncate) [October 1, 2021]

LA’s own David Flores aka Truncate turns out an instant classic for the 10th anniversary and 22nd release of his self-titled label, with UK’s  Luke Slater and James Ruskin on the venerated remix duties. The record pushes forward the underground techno sound by perfectly combining old school warehouse-inspired soundscapes and deep, jackin’ grooves, mixed with a modern sense of precision and originality for the dancefloors that await them.

Truncate sets the tone on “First Phase” with a quick lofi-ed intro before slamming into his signature style that includes a bouncing and pounding kick matched with raw, jackin’ drums. Shuffley hats and filtered synths chug the groove forward while a modular-styled trippy synth sequence, another signature sound of his, carries the subversive vibe in the background. Master tastemaker Luke Slater takes the sound into giant warehouse territory by trading the original’s dynamic rawness for machine-like intense energy in his “Planetary Assault Systems Remix” on A2. A proper reimagination, Slater’s remix chops up the main modular sequence and unleashes his unique style on the rhythm and leads with original sounds. Driving from start to finish, a fierce buildup turns into an even more ferocious energy release midway that carries through until the end.

As if that weren’t enough, the London artist provides 2 more mixes titled “Jam 1” and “Jam 2” that give a completely different minimal hardware feel. Immediately grasping you into the raw groove, Slater then adds a piercing synth string that trips around the high frequencies for a memorable new addition to the “First Phase” sounds. Keeping the minimal and improvisatory vibe going in “Jam 1,” he starts the second jam as if a continuation of the first, giving more insight on the tasteful groove and how far the tracks’ rabbit hole goes. For most of “Jam 2” he explores the deep and cerebral corners [of what], and waits until the last 2 minutes to introduce an open hat and jolt the floor out of their trip into a self-aware dance frenzy.

Truncate’s second original offering “The Eve” brings machine funk to a higher state of existence with an ever-evolving jackin’ techno opus. Every musical element coexists with its neighbor in a symbiotic fashion that seemingly comes naturally to the Los Angeles mastermind. Erratic builds and surprises galore make for an extremely entertaining and hyper-focused arrangement that would require a true jackin’ techno don if a remix was to be undertaken…Luckily, a handful of people on this planet do exist that could be up to the task. One, namely James Ruskin, does just that by twisting and folding “The Eve” into a warped remix that creates an entirely new sonic labyrinth for dancefloors to get lost in. A five minute intense workout ensues as the UK producer adds his engineering skill and creative intricacies that bridge the gap between the countries and puts his mark on this remarkable release.

First Phase is available on most streaming platforms and Bandcamp, as well as in vinyl format. 

-Kai Loo

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