Marc Houle follows 2007’s Techno Vocals EP with a string of releases that experiment with the true potential of the digital download age, 3 tracks released per week for one month.
The project aptly titled Sixty-Four represents an exciting phase in Marc Houle’s production cycle with most of the year having been spent testing ideas for his album. As a result, these twelve tracks were only ever meant to represent ‘work in progress’, functioning primarily as DJ tools for Magda, Troy Pierce and Richie Hawtin over the summer with Marc also performing them live on the road and during the Contakt shows. However, exactly because of their 'in-between' nature, their inherent quirkiness
and route one approach the crowds have really taken to them and other DJs have been desperate to get their hands on them. To satisfy demand, Minus has put together this very special series of digital releases for August, before a double pack 12" hits the shops in September featuring seven carefully
They contain such a wealth of unique and twisted sounds that it’s a challenge finding adjectives to
describe them. Houle attacks each idea with verve and tenacity, constantly varying the unconventional line up of machines at his disposal, in fact there’s a vast collection of equipment on display here -early analogue synths, sequencers and drum machines, 80s digital synths, modern buchla synths, samplers, vocals, acoustic drums, electronic trigger pads, bass guitar -even a vst! The result is a plethora of sound encapsulating different styles and multi – coloured dimensions as each track revolves around a musical motif that’s subsequently stretched, contorted and wrenched in every direction possible. It all works perfectly as Houle never loses sight of the basic orthodoxies needed to make a techno track
Week 1 sees the digital release of Sands, Deathray At You and Jouster, and the depth and quality of sound generated from his arsenal of machines is immediately apparent. Just check out the heavily treated raw bleeps and blips that usher in the huge, filtered bass loop on Sands. Every element is given space to breathe as the slow techno groove constructs around a dark acid bassline before the 808 hats
introduce more beautifully crafted sounds, creating a lush analogue landscape. The beginning of
Deathray At You reflects the title perfectly. A four-note descending bassline then takes the floor and
Houle starts running amok with a selection of modulated effects that literally pull the sound inside out
while the unobtrusive beats keep everything ticking over. Jouster combines more classic beats with
laser cheeky unquantized toms and a low slung, warbling bassline in a rough and ready style including
a classic, sampled vocal section.
There’s a strong reference to 80s computer and video game culture during week 2 with Buchla9 as it leaps and cavorts across the sonic spectrum -Just wait for the bass to kick in. Steeplechase is another high-end mixing tool continuing the theme of machines in meltdown with a fuzzy bassline slowly warping up and down while the loose groove speaks with a lazy tongue. Door Nobula then rounds off the instalment with a more aggressive techno workout. The beat hammers the point home with lethal
precision as a twisted, freaking acid line dominates the majority of the track.
Week 3 returns to a slightly more sedate state of affairs with Flapping Around displaying some distinct
early techno tendencies although its not long before Houle launches the unassuming riff and we’re off
again. Selection 12 contains authentic bass guitar work, looped and filtered against a backdrop of delayed drum rolls and thick, reverberating swathes of guitar. The post punk overtones bring a dark, brooding quality to the project making it a welcome but not entirely out of place departure. Ketchup and Beans then kicks in with a tasty electro-funk groove. It’s an infectious dancefloor warmer complete
with bouncing, elastic bassline and hypnotic hook taking control and ordering you to dance.
As we enter the home straight of this mammoth release, the fantastically titled Meatier Shower rains down as the title implies, complete with raw sampled hook line and creative interplay between the bass and a Magda vocal. It’s a bomb that detonates with insane harpsichord riffing at the end and a deeply meaningful last note. Investments instigates more mischief with shifting time signatures and delay
effects that disorientate the dancefloor before What Are You Doin brings the curtain down. Drifting
amid a haze of classic beats and a self referencing cut up vocal, it revolves around a programmed
sequence, chattering in a way that reaffirms Marc Houle’s complete and almost unnerving control over his machines.