By Clara Tehrani
Ever-so-often, techno delivers a prodigal son: an artist who seems to have an innate sensibility to the genre; someone who, for his talent as well as his attitude, feels like a game changer. Despite his yet short career and genuinely humble stance, Jonas Wedelstädt aka Parallx feels like the most recent contender to the position. His latest EP Lost in Time, released this past April 7 on Berlin-based label ARTS, comes in support of the candidacy.
The record has become the first work by Parallx to be pressed to vinyl after Modul X 001, co-signed by label owners Parallx and Escape to Mars, had its release date postponed from the expected late-March to potentially mid-April (it has in the meantime been released digitally through the label’s Bandcamp page); Modul, as so many other small, independent labels, has been experiencing delays from pressing plants as major labels constantly uptake more and more space to respond to the recent vinyl craze. Plastic aside, the race for Parallx’s productions and remixes are symptomatic of the sheer quality of this work.
Lost in Time summons the spirit of rave in its darkest assertion with dense, almost premonitory atmospheres that make the heart race as they encage the mind in a paranoid, suspended time. The outstanding plasticity of the EP comes from an ingenious play of perspective that affects the placement of the elements in the space-time binomial, a sort of parallax effect to Parallx’s music: depending on the angle you look (or listen) from, the object (i.e. the music) seems to reveal a different facet.
A couple of minutes into Lost in Time — both the record and the homonymous track that opens it — and one feels the tension between the grounded rhythm that draws the hard lines of a confined space and the melodic energy that fights to escape it. The mood is sustained throughout the whole record.
All four tracks that comprise the EP are cut to the dance floor but they could easily be used elsewhere without feeling displaced. Percussion is powerful in its simplicity, full elastic kick-drums that keep the drive without ever having to scream for attention, hats that rarely multiply in too many layers, a sober use of claps, all in just the right amount, just the right proportion to throw the body dancing in all directions, possessed by cathartic energy. Then, there is the constant competition between ghostly leads and prophetic vocals particularly evident in A2 Caged Birds (probably the most haunting track of the lot), which creates a sense of melancholic hope that renders the record both memorable and timeless.
With Lost in Time, ARTS reinforces its position as on one of the reference labels in underground techno. And Parallx passes the point-of-no-return into what we can only hope is a long, fruitful career producing much needed lucid yet soulful techno.