There’s always something stirring in the depths of the techno realm, but the majority of it on my radar lately seems to be heralding from the lovely country of Sweden.
Hypnus Records label owner Michel is not sure why there’s been an amazing output of deep techno coming from his country in the past few years, notably through labels like Northern Electronics (home to Varg, Isorinne, Acronym et al), and his very own Hypnus Records, but for us listeners, this deeply hypnotic sound is converging the best emotional elements of ambient music, with the trusty techno rub. When asked if there was something in the water, Michel described Sweden as more of a distraction than an inspiration;
"The realm of Hypnus lies more in the imagination. Sweden, and society in general, feels more distracting than inspiring”.
Michel is perhaps unknowingly describing the very root of the techno movement - an inspiration to release and break free from society, happening here once again, but this time in his home country of Sweden.
If pushed, he would probably describe his label’s sound as “curious and immersive electronic music” after once trying to label it as "psychedelic deep techno”, but only to realize this genre in itself was already established, and his output was different. Either way, to him “it’s highly psychedelic as it is synthetically cinematic”. To the casual listener, it’s techno. But to me and many others, it represents the perfect blend of atmospheric ambient music and heads-down-4-am-stompers.
Much of Hypnus’ output retains the basic elements of techno we’re used to; repetition, synthesizers and a sense of progressive euphoria, albeit with a mysterious, bubbly and intriguing feel that’s more akin to the atmosphere found in dub-techno. The label was founded as a result of Michel wanting to release music by some producers he enjoyed on Soundcloud: "I had just recently lost my job which left me with some extra cash that I decided to spend on curating the first Hypnus record”. That record, was released in 2014 - not so long ago, given the extensive output and impact of the label so far, which as now gone on to introduce the world to the sounds of Luigi Tozzi, Feral, BLNDR, Primal Code, Michel’s own techno alias, Ntogn and many, many more.
Michel's self-discovered techno community has gone on to become a close-knit bunch of friends that share the roster, retaining a distinct aesthetic and a consistent output.
"I met Luigi and Tom (BLNDR) through Soundcloud many years ago while Alessandro (Feral) and Jakob (Skymn) came into the label through common friends. Over time we’ve all grown closer as we’ve had chances to meet all over the world and this is really a great reward for me. It is a special feeling listening to the music of a friend, hearing the whistles and gales of their mind”.
The likes of Luigi Tozzi’s techno is comparable to the euphoria of mastermind Donato Dozzy and the associated Italian techno-mafia that have long held the crown for this style of music. BLNDR, who recently contributed to Silent Season’s tenth anniversary release, represents an even deeper and more hubby sound; whilst Feral features more tribal tendencies. Skymn, lives up to the more ambient/psychedelic sound you might draw comparisons with the likes of Future Sound Of London, for example. And if that wasn’t enough to stretch your techno spectrum, Michel is also running two sub-labels: Kabalion (a slightly more intense, techno output) and Tome, home to Michel’s personal project as Ntogn.
Michel's isolatedmix takes us on a journey through the various elements of Hypnus, opening with ambient and quickly moving into the distinct sound we’ve come to love from the label. Describing his thought process behind the mix, Michel notes: “spontaneously I felt that I wanted to make an intro of the first four tracks, although initially I had my mind set on a different order. Eventually they fit better this way and after that I just followed the mood and was happy to include some unreleased material”.
It’s a mix from a music-loving DJ-at-heart, as much as it is a collection of label-head tracks, with blended transitions, changes of pace and a growing progressive atmosphere throughout thats synonymous with the labels output. “One of my favorites is maybe at 30-34 mins where a couple of Alessandro’s and Primal Code’s unreleased tracks flow into each other. Both when the shakes come at 30:06 and the drop at 33:41 are sweet spots for my little DJ-heart”.
01. Feral - Heruka 4
02. Luigi Tozzi - Yavin 4 (Ambient Mix)
03. Luigi Tozzi - Epipelagic
04. Skymn - City Lights
05. Primal Code*
06. Primal Code - Jikan
07. Primal Code - Junkan (Luigi Tozzi's Interpretation)
08. Primal Code - Junkan
09. Feral - Krishna
10. Luigi Tozzi - Flusso Perpetuo
11. Primal Code*
12. Luigi Tozzi - Binary Sunset
13. Skymn - Okuyi (Korridor's Interpretation)
14. Luigi Tozzi - Yavin 4
15. Primal Code*
17. Primal Code*
18. Luigi Tozzi - Subterrel
19. Luigi Tozzi - Jedha
20. Feral - Heruka 3
21. Skymn - Biker Scene
22. Luigi Tozzi - Chemosynthesis (Claudio PRC Remix)
23. Luigi Tozzi - Quetzalli
24. Luigi Tozzi - Mesopelagic Zone
* Forthcoming release.