Record of the week W43 by Rogier Oostlander
‘Europa Code’ is the unwavering UK techno flagbearer’s second record for the esteemed Zenker Brothers imprint this year and it’s just as good as its incredible predecessor - if not better.
In February Ilian Tape released Surgeon’s label debut ‘The Golden Sea’, a sturdy yet adventurous techno stomper with aquatic undertones that somehow sounded perfectly at home at the label that has grown to become one of the most forward-thinking labels in techno over the last few years, thanks to a series of stellar releases by Skee Mask, Stenny, Andrea and label heads Zenker Brothers themselves - despite being a whole lot tougher.
‘Winged Assassin’ starts off as a trademark unforgiving Surgeon stomper with a nagging distorted acid line before it’s gradually taken over by ominous synth sweeps that are part menace, part melancholy. It’s followed by the relentlessly percussive kickfest that is ‘Crater 101’, leaving the sort of serious dents the title suggests.
Things get deeper on the B-side with ‘Place of Angels’, a sturdy yet emotional post-Detroit mini masterpiece that sounds like an updated power version of Dan Curtin’s groundbreaking early-to-mid-nineties work for Metamorphic.
It’s the title track ‘Europa Code’ that’s the biggest stunner here though - an introverted yet sweeping downtempo electro vision of a future dystopia that should have been a better world - making this EP compulsory listening. And while you’re at it also make sure to check out Surgeon’s recent mix in the Ilian Tape podcast series on Soundcloud - you owe it to yourself. (RO)