By Clara Tehrani

It might be officially released on April Fool’s day but the first EP to have NORD’s stamp is a work of genius. Signed by label owner Shkedul, the record is true to the Italian producer’s style: hypnotic, clean, elegant techno. From his music alone, one would never guess that Andrea Fremiotti, the man behind Shkedul, has been around for lesser time than techno itself. Nevertheless, he is no rookie to production: with over 10 years exploring the sonic fields, he counts more years producing that some veterans out there. And it shows… this record, as most of the music released under the Shkedul alias, shows incredible maturity, confidence and stance.

The launch of his own label comes as an affirmation of the producer’s approach to music in which both his artistic beliefs and the influences of friends and fellow artists from other fields blend in to create a very personal, unique contribution to techno. While most of the world — especially where up and coming musicians are concerned — is busy following the trends in hope of visibility and success, Shkedul’s attitude is a breath of fresh air.

NORD LTD was born not as an egotistical move of self-promotion — Shkedul is already quite known in the underground techno scene with releases on labels like ARTS, Sonntag Morgen, or KONFLKT — but rather as a tool for uncensored self-expression. The label is the second installment of a holistic creative venture of which the first is Nord Tattooing in Belluno, up in the mountains of Northern Italy. And it is precisely the basement of this local tattoo shop that will host the launch party of NORD 001 on April 8 (if anyone happens to be in Venice or its vicinities, this party should not be missed!).

Pressed on vinyl, the EP features four tracks that serve the physical impulse to dance and the need for engaging aural stimulation equally well. The apparent simplicity of the music stands as an unintentional statement that sometimes less is more. Stripped down of the trendy compressions and distortions that sometimes, when wrongly appropriated or overused, sound more like sonic pollution than augmenting the value of the music, Shkedul seems more preoccupied in distilling each element to its purest aural form. Without compromising on the drive or on dance floor potential, the whole arrangement of each track has a minimal feel that renders the album timeless.

Noteworthy is the Italian producer’s fantastic work at exploring the ‘outer body sensation’ in a dance floor skewed techno track. The hats, cymbals, noises and drones that sit on the high end of the spectrum have their own particular space, dissociated from the rest, floating above the elastic, full, almost tribal sounding kick-drum and the often dub inspired bass lines. Bleeps and other hypnotic elements fill the space between with a hook from which it is impossible to escape. Unsurprisingly, the album can be playing in repeat for hours before one wakes up from the dream.

Upcoming this April 1, NORD 001 is likely to disappear from the stores as fast as it comes, a consequence of Shkedul’s growing reputation in the circle. It would also come as no surprise to see NORD LTD becoming a cult label in no time. Faith in underground techno restored.