Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dandy Jack And The Junction SM: Los Siete Castigos

While techno formalism lends itself to the easy accumulation of momentum, it also makes way for a wealth of more complicated musical openings. They aren't always taken—some of the best techno knows when to leave a good loop alone—but the conditions remain ripe for parts to be moved around, dropped out, or wedged into designs that wouldn't make much sense on graph paper.


Dandy Jack And The Junction SM draw squiggles where others might be fine with lines. Based in the electronic heartland of Berlin, the group makes techno that favors swirl over drive and digression over focus. On Los Siete Castigos, it's hard to know where a track will end. A little synth figure at the beginning might grow thick and tangly, or just fall away; a hyperactive polyrhythm run at mid-tempo might enlist a cymbal crash to make an otherwise innocuous beat suddenly go bang. It all happens with a lightness of touch that proves dreamily immersive and exhilaratingly hard to chart.

Castigos calls on syncopation that grows back to the roots of Dandy Jack himself, another Chilean to add to the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Matias Aguayo, and Pier Bucci. Some of the Latin associations come from literal drum sounds, but mostly they lurk in the circuitous patterns drawn underneath: little flitters and flecks, rhythmic rounds, the way certain beats get punched up or snipped at the stem. In "Video Taceo," an electro riff mimics a xylophone, while delicate taps dance over a kick-drum that sounds too excitable to fall into any uniform pattern. Harder tracks like "Arabs In The Dessert" derive their sense of hardness through a dizzy-making density that bats at the air it flushes out. Lots of techno gets (unfairly) disparaged for its stone-faced austerity, but this is techno playing the part of a cackling clown.

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