Token’s 2014 compilation Aphelion summed up techno’s state of development by examining its rhythmic sound design and testing how it works as dance music. The label spent the first 5 years of their movement taking snapshots of techno’s evolution on the dance floor. Their 12”s have always been excellent examples of form and function, so their Aphelion LP could have easily been interpreted as some kind of final assessment. Let alone the fact, that this year Token plan to broaden their horizons with the introduction of new artists to the label, such as Tadeo and Antigone (and hopefully more to come), and listening to the Tadeo’s Terra Incognita EP, one might observe correctly, that this collection is exclusively and unexpectedly designed for the mind.
The theme of deep space exploration is a frequent choice for many of techno’s finest, futuristic sounds generated by machines is an obvious tool for science fiction’s portrayal of the unknown. Terra Incognita EP starts with Requiem, a theatrical yet ambient intro embellished with haunting female vocals. It ends with Despert, another 2-minute or so beatless affair of playful strings, reminding you of soundtracks from decade old sci-fi movies. In between, there are four pieces of straightforward head-nodding tracks consisting of flaring drums, eerie synthwork and some orchestral arrangements. Tadeo chooses an echoing, deep environment for his music, which sometimes feels like an updated score of X-102’s Discovers The Rings Of Saturn.
Deep Space’s paranoid theme might also remind you of Robert Hood’s late works from the Omega era. Rapid drums and a continuously loudening and falling synth bring darkness and isolation. The Possibility Of An Encounter weighs heavily on the classic Detroit aesthetic, the track is steady and beat-driven, though its moderate ambient background always signals where we are.
Claustrophobia is the identifying element in Apollo 7 and Mind Possibilities, both are great executions of mind-mesmeric efforts. During the 28-minute voyage, Tadeo has obvious points of reference, yet the result is rewarding, both in style and substance. Terra Incognita is also a significant release in Token’s catalogue, it would be nice to hear more of this conceptual music for headphone listening.
Terra Incognita EP is out now on Token, order a vinyl copy from Juno.
2. Deep Space
3. The Possibility Of An Encounter
1. Apollo 7
2. Mind Possibilities