Phil Kieran - Snakefight

Tronic is a pretty special label. Throughout its 32 release history it has showcased some of the best club techno records around and any new track that comes out on Tronic will inevitably be compared to a past label highlight - a track entitled '15.5' produced by label boss Christian Smith and long term studio partner John Selway.

'15.5' is one of the most effective peak time techno cuts of recent times, which even featured on the late John Peel's Fabric compilation - a lovely seal of approval. For release number 32 Christian Smith brings Phil Kieran on board for the first time to attempt to out do the action on '15.5'. And although he doesn't quite manage to match it he isn't far off, producing in the process an insane but brilliant contemporary techno killer.

The combination of Phil Kieran, an impossibly talented electronic producer, and Tronic is a mouth-watering prospect and 'Snakefight' is no let down. Perhaps the best way to describe Kieran's A-side offering is to call it a more minimal version of Renato Cohen's 'Pontape' released back in 2002 on Intec. The simple but devastating loop groove and pure energy is definitely evocative of the Brazilian bounce of 'Pontape'. The main difference comes from the elements Kieran decides to use in this particular track. Instead of crashing percussion and huge kicks witnessed on 'Pontape' Phil applies minimal and echoing percussion alongside a humming siren sound. As the main loop dominates the proceedings, it is a nice to hear that this loop is frequently cut up with a reverse synth. The main breakdown, unsurprisingly, is designed purely for dancefloor destruction. It starts by stripping down the main components before methodically building them back up again with support from sweeping effects and extra bass, and when it drops back in it becomes simply unstoppable.

The overall arrangement borrows heavily from the classic Smith and Selway blueprint of utilising a simple build to maximum effect and as such it is right at home on a label like Tronic. Phil Kieran isn't doing anything groundbreaking with 'Snakefight'; in fact he simply just employs a couple of tried and tested styles of production. What he does do is give these styles a timely update with a strong relevance to the current minimal scene that is perhaps nearing the end of its peak. That said originality doesn't really matter that much when the end result is as addictive and effective as this. Top quality tech material that is best experienced on the dancefloor.

The B-side provides a different mix of 'Snakefight', courtesy of Marko Nastic, the latest in a growing line of East European DJ's and producers to make waves in the international techno scene. The Serbian is himself the product of Umek and Valentino Kanzyani's Recycled Loops label that this fact gives us a clear indication of what to expect with his interpretation. Nastic's remix slaps a huge turbocharger on Phil's original, making it perfect for the harder dancefloors. A massive 4/4 sequence, suitably supplied thanks to a thundering bassline, kicks the whole thing off. The siren sound from the original is present although it is modified significantly and ends up sounding like a warning for things to come. Nicely programmed electronic interference and crazed synths spilt the main groove and these touches add real moments of funkiness. The breakdowns are darker still, letting the electronic features dominate in a rather menacing manner. Solid gear for the harder dancefloors in full flow, but maybe a bit much for everywhere else.

Phil Kieran - Snakefight




TR 032


November 21 2005


December 15, 2005 at 4:20 PM CET


Paul Pritchard

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