Christian Smith and John Selway - Work It

Tronic are on a roll. After a slow 2004 and first half of 2005 the label has increased its output dramatically. Thankfully for its fans this volume increase has been supported by high quality A&R work by Christian Smith and his Tronic crew.

'Work It' follows hot on the heels of the excellent and incessant 'Snakefight' by Phil Kieran and although the original comes from the familiar studio of techno stalwarts Smith and Selway, the remix credits have been wisely handed to another young and gifted producer, on this occasion Swiss producer Sam Geiser under his Deetron guise. The original is a solid, dark techno affair containing trademark Smith and Selway dramatics and minimal shades. However, the real highlight comes in the shape of Deetron's gorgeous remix, combining strong dancefloor friendly riffs and emotive yet wild Detroit based synths.

Suitable chaos should be generated whenever the original Smith and Selway mix is dropped. Jackhammer beats and funky hi hats play a major role in their version of 'Work It'. Alongside these pieces the US producers deploy extra reverb percussion that marches in time with the main groove. A deep and penetrating bassline pushes things further although the vocal sample used can sound a touch basic at times. Effective rave stabs help to hide any tacky traces though as things progress. The arrangement is more minimal than we have come to expect from both producers and it would appear that this is now a crucial part of their production criteria (their forthcoming 'Sliver Bullet' also supports this suggestion). Naturally a Smith and Selway record would not be the same without their standard break construction and this is present and correct. However it fails to hit like previous efforts and this assessment is applicable to 'Work It' in general. It may be a dark, repetitive and effective techno groove that will work a dancefloor well enough, but it far from the best work of 2 of the most important US techno producers of the late 1990's.

For anyone who was seduced by 909 techno sounds that sparkled with deep flashes of Detroit - as heard on early Intec releases and played by top DJ's like Slam, C-1 and Carl Cox - the results of Sam Geiser's latest remix attempt will be most welcome. His more melodic version starts with an accessible interpretation of Smith and Selway's jackhammer beats. At the same time a frankly sick electronic riff floats around in the background hinting at the mayhem to follow. The combination of techno drum arrangements and electro melodies is a sound that has been working really well of late for the likes of Tomie Nevada and Marco Carola and once more it hits the right notes for Deetron. Geiser adopts a more sparing application of the vocal as he keeps the track as straightforward as possible. As the first break approaches the main riff drops in full and the result is significant. A lower BPM rate allows the riff to take centre stage as it twists and turns with slick dynamism. Subtle but clever equalisation modifies the overall groove making it perfect for dancefloor action. However it is Deetron's unique production footprint that sets this particular track apart from your average techno record. Midway through he introduces sublime synths that develop into an out of orbit electronic experience. At the main breakdown these wild synths are accompanied by dark haunting strings to rival anything that burst out of the underground labs of May, Atkins and Saunderson all those years ago. Tough drum rolls round off the breakdown as it jacks back into action with the riff expanded to add further complexity to the track. Building on the promising direction witnessed on the 'Floor Jackin Theory EP' Deetron manages to combine tough tech house and techno beats with sweet synths and emotive strings in an outstanding and eventful package. Played by all the major techno DJ's that matter and by a wide selection of adventurous house DJ's such as James Zabiela and Deep Dish - this is dancefloor techno with soul at its most impressive. A future legend in the making.

Christian Smith and John Selway - Work It




TR 033


December 19 2005


January 22, 2006 at 9:16 PM CET


Paul Pritchard

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