On the Radar: Johanna Knutsson & Hans Berg – Mälarviken

Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg have just released their latest collaborative EP, Mälarviken. The Waveform Transmitter‘s confirmed househead, Simon Huxtable, becomes something of a techno convert with this no nonsense three-tracker from the Berlin-based duo.

I do love a good groove, and, to its credit, Techno has always (at its purest) been a groovesome musical genre. Idle Hands and indeed the stars of this EP, Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg, are new to me, but that has never been an issue in 20 years of DJing. In fact, it helps that I don’t go into this review with the baggage of past failures or rubbish releases.

As respected artists and DJs in their own right, the pair have been turning out 12”s together for The Free Spirit Society, Klasse, and Crime City Disco over the past few years, but more importantly, they’ve been expertly steering the excellent UFO Station Recordings as a vessel for their punchy, primal techno tracks. A sound very much in evidence across all three cuts in this EP whose names are taken from a Swedish pop opera from the 90s.

And that’s where the esoteric imagery ends. What remains is contemporary dance floor carnage which holds together from sparse, yet perfectly formed parts – in short, if Mila Kunis was a techno record and cloned in to three, she would look and sound like this EP. Cut to the music, I may need a moment…

‘A’ side, Taggen growls into life with a controlled tribal rhythmic pattern. Cleverly, they’ve used stabs to fill in the detail allowing the percussive elements more room to grow. And grow they do in to something of a wall of relentless sound.

B1, Bimbo begins beatless. It’s groove only becoming apparent about 12 bars in, as the bass frequencies draw in to range. Something of an oddball one this with rising and falling synth nuances driving the track forward under the no nonsense tribal groove.

Finally, where B1 was eccentric and off the wall, B2, as the name suggests, is the Klimax. Familiar techno stabs playfully work against a skippy percussive shake and single note bass as things slowly take shape. Far be it from me to get all smutty discussing Techno, but this chick is a wild, wild ride!

Johanna Knutsson & Hans BergMälarviken, is available now through Idle Hands. Like it? Then buy it.

 

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