Waage / Quantal


Thule • 2023

Dub techno is a dance music anomaly. Long established in the sonic space, the genre serves as a perfect echo chamber for purists to isolate themselves from the ephemeral nature of rave fashions like pop edits and disproportionate speed. The great thing about it: dub techno seldom sounds botched, and even away from legends like Basic Channel or Porter Ricks, interesting producers can be found, especially in Iceland. Since the nineties, the label Thule Records, by way of example, has been pushing ahead with their project of pouring sound into exactly the same undercooled, sharp-edged, frankly wild image that continental Europeans have of the showcase island state. Way too clichéd? Waage & Quantal dare to make the next attempt by stringing together four tracks in a moderate tempo on »WQ1«. And they take pleasure in leaving plenty of time to immerse themselves in the unmistakable dub techno groove. On the second piece – the tracks are numbered, quite soberly and traditionally, from »WQ1« to »WQ4« – the chords rise like tinkling stalagmites from the slushy bass run driven forward by Shaker. The tracks don’t just roll out in the classic way, element by element, but stand alone as a compact unit until the end, as is the case with Skudge, for example. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t become increasingly dense over the course of their plus/minus seven-minute running time. This is shown impressively by the way WQ3 grows, layer by layer, to become a grey monster.