Lakej – “Nerve Control” (Kazerne) [May 24, 2024]

Bas Mooy’s Mord has been pushing a lot of the Kazerne sound lately as a sub-label concept. Mostly because Kazerne seems to rejoin with a more hypnotic groove and funk sound, which some have called “raw techno,” or in some other’s eyes, deemed as just “proper Techno”. 

Mord’s direction in the past has never been anything less than artistically driven, yet it seems like a majority of the catalog is linear in its methods. Focusing on an industrial and noise style on the tracks with a very stern and dissociative feel, the ear’s lead to explore connections and environments withheld deeper in the distorted atmospheres. This “Nerve Control” release from Lakej on Kazerne is definitely a turn towards harder and darker groove-based Techno. And for Lakej, it represents a strong showing towards a representation of pursuing creative ideas. 

Lakej has been known for hard and dark music on labels like Nachtstrom Schallplatten, creating a very intense environment with an emphasis more on the lines of attempting to make something exciting and overwhelming. In essence, that kind of hard and dark techno has its place, though Lakej has taken that approach and made it more expressive with interest in fulfilling some creative questions while making some seriously slamming dance music. And to be quite honest, this sound has been such a rarity in the last 10-15 years, with it being mostly championed by Swedish Techno group Headroom (Patrik Skoog, Niklas Ehrlin, and Henrik Larsson) as well as Glenn Wilson & Mike Humphries. It’s nice to hear it again, now somewhat infused with the modern point of view of the Mord catalog’s sense of aesthetics.

This point of view can certainly be heard across “Nerve Control”, where there are some dark, industrial-styled sonic elements and suspensions that you might hear in a Skinny Puppy instrumental section, but also there’s the hybrid of the linear, Mord gritty atmospheric attitude layered in. Also, similarly, these disturbing and dark suspended synth atmospheres are present in “False Memories”, the presence of which within this track is quite literally breathtaking.

In a similar idea to “False Memories” yet with more tribal elements is the title track “Nerve Control.” This track has a load of post-2010 groove elements with the large synth sequence elements. The heavy layered percussion with just the right amount of swing and timing against that kick is absolutely flawless.

“Walking Wounded” opens up the mix with some dark dubbed-out elements but lowers the mood into something serious and intense to wipe the smile off anyone’s face and let you know it’s time to put your head down and a fist up while your fellow dancefloor revelers cheer and scream.

“Archenemy” and “Fabrications” both follow a similar approach with the gritty atmospheres while riding the intensity throughout, slowly allowing you to succumb and be enveloped within the music.

If you listen to Techno every day, you probably hear some good concepts and think, ‘That’s a nice idea,’ but what sets “Nerve Control” apart is the truly different sounds that turn your head and get you standing up and listening at your full attention. The difference in this release is that there’s a lot of knowledge of techno. The way that these tracks are presented is remarkable, fresh, and shows an artist who knows how to get the result he wants. At the same time, the whole EP is geared to burn up a dance floor.

-Sean Ocean

Check out Dirty Epic music recommendations here.
Listen to our podcasts here.
Find out more about our Events here.
Listen to our review picks here.

Stay up to date on the latest music from around the globe