It seems to me, that dub techno is a style that will never be truly popular, and nor it has to. Because it’s very specific and appeals to a specific kind of taste, which can be acquired through studying the history of this style and electronic dance music in general. To someone who’s not a fan of it, it may sound all the same, but dub techno fans have the ability to appreciate very small details and subtle differences. There is a chord with delay and reverb in every track, but every artist cooks it in a slightly different way. Therefore, even in the genre so defined we can have recognizable styles of one or another artist.
Some of you may be thinking, is there any dub techno in Belarus? Well, I’m here to tell you, yes there is. Not an overwhelming amount of artists or labels though.
To begin talking about dub techno in Belarus you have to start from YINYANG label, which is now defunct. Their first release appeared in 2017. So these guys were no doubt pioneers of the genre in their country. I believe it was the first dub techno label. YINYANG was started by artists known as Thomas Carmody, Khlev and their good friend Pavlik Artiushin. They have released a lot of stuff under this label, including artists like Heavenchord, Tender H, Altone and more. However at one point in history, the whole team realized that they have a bit different visions of what they want to achieve, and so they split apart. Khlev and Pavlik decided to get involved with music more suitable for dancefloors, and created the Backside Slice brand, and after that YINYANG was re-branded as Spclnch (spacelunch) by Thomas. Since then, he kept working on the label and it kept bringing new releases without slowing down at all. Since then he also released music by Liuos, Basicnoise, a vinyl record by Upwellings, Vøsne, Special Zip, Ohrwert and many more.
What’s great about all these people in Belarus, I mentioned above, is that they are enthusiastic about making great electronic music events. I’ve been booked to play in their events twice my self and came back with great memories. It’s cool to watch how they are doing it all out of passion for this music. There is a very nice video recording of one of their events, which includes live sets by Alexander Bogdanov and Special Zip. The latter has also released two EP’s on our label, but more on that later. You may enjoy the video:
Let’s talk about specific artists. I’ll start with Thomas Carmody, because in my mind he is the main person now in Belarus when we’re talking about dub techno. I’ve already told what he does a bit, so I’m not going to repeat my self. But he also has a solid catalog of his own productions released via his own label, others, and I’m happy to say that on Cold Tear Records as well.
The next artist I’d like to mention is Special Zip. The interesting thing about this case, is that Special Zip released his first EP “Method” on Cold Tear Records in 2017, not on a Belarusian label. And at that time YINYANG / Spclnch weren’t even aware of this artist. I told about him to Thomas Carmody when I was playing in Minsk. So now he’s a part of Spclnch and also releases stuff on our label. I’m happy how music can sometimes connect people. Since then Special Zip also released an album called “Patterns”, which you can check out below.
One more artist who also cannot be ignored is Tender H. This producer is uncommonly prolific with his music. He’s been making multiple releases a year, since he released his debut EP “Dub Time” via Cold Tear Records. And it doesn’t look like he’s planning to stop. I’m intrigued to see what is ahead of Tender H.
Let’s also talk a bit about Alexander Bogdanov. I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard much about him until quite recently. But when I listen to his productions, I understand that he might be one to watch in the next few years. So far he has one EP on Spclnch called “Contact”, that features two tracks by him and two by Special Zip, and one EP on Hello Strange called “Arcanum“.
And last producer I will talk about is Khlev. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, he was involved in Belarus as a pioneer of the style together with Thomas Carmody when they started YINYANG label. He has released a lot of stuff on that label, now branded as Spclnch, which include his solo EP’s, as well as collaborations with other artists and a remixer. He now works as curator and event organizer at Backside Slice team.
I’m sure there are more people, putting together dub techno tracks in their spare time, in their cozy bedrooms, just for fun, without any big aspirations maybe. But that’s about it for dub techno from Belarus. You couldn’t say there’s a lot of it, but it found it’s place in this country as well.
Written by Evaldas Azbukauskas