The hollow kicks and syncopated hats on Lo Shea’s, Oxygen Lance immediately transport me back to 2010 and to the likes of Joy o and Boddika appropriating Tech-House for the disenfranchised dub-step generation. The submissive rumble of a modulating triangle wave, stirring the development into frenzy, pokes out amongst the rhythms only ever long enough for the listener to notice, before returning to its muddy subterranean dwelling. Oxygen Lance captures some of the beatific charm that those Bass pioneers have lost along the way in a clear-cut Techno arrangement that encourages the listener to turn it up, whether it’s 4AM on a seedy dance floor or 8AM on a train to work. The obscure horn sample repeats on loop amongst the constructive rhythm section and in it I find some of Lo Shea’s Sheffield roots amongst the barren industrialised sound palette that synth pioneers like Cabaret Voltaire popularised in the city.
Alongside Root Causes Lo Shea negates the German bastardisation of the Techno genre and brings some interesting Rhythmical patterns back into the picture as syncopated metallic percussive parts distract from the ubiquitous four on the floor. Root Causes ends each phrase in a neat skip of the hollow kick and offers some ascending melodic phrases that counterpoint each other, creating a very heady melodic movement. It’s a progressive track, but like everything that adapts the term, it can often take on repetitive connotations with little progression actually taking place around a simple core loop. It’s the same for Oxygen Lance, but in that case the functional aspects of the music trumps the monotonous nature. It’s only on the B1 where the progression is obstructed long enough find a developed form and it happens on the remix. Kowton strips back Lo Shea’s Root Causes even further and the industrial nature of the track loosens up in the London producer’s hands with a demure interpretation.
The remix sums up this solid UK Techno release, which breathes some air back into Techno’s strict defined parameters. There’s a tentative industrial feel to the tracks without succumbing completely to the big room Techno, and I feel that the Sheffield experimentalist aptitude is something that especially comes through on the release. Oxygen Lance can be seen as the next chapter of an industrialised synthesiser tradition, where drum machines and samplers have replaced synthesisers, negating the eccentricities of the music for a functional dance package.