Lately there has been a lot of discussions regarding the current state of techno music, thanks to the easy access of music making technology and trends like the new wave of so called minimal techno, many veterans in the scene feel that it has opened the flood gates to a new breed of soulless lazy producers, which is causing a lot of damage to the name of techno. This maybe the case for many of todays new and upcoming producers but its certainly not for Florida based Ryan Parmer AKA Phasen.
I first discovered Phasen's music a few years back on myspace music, I was immediately struck by the level of maturity and emotion in Ryan's compositions, as he was only in his late teens. The most obvious influences in his music at this time would have been acts like Boards of Canada, Tycho, etc..
Around this time Phasen was releasing some CDR's through the highly respected U-cover label so I ordered one of the albums which displayed his awesome talent for composing down tempo IDM hip hop styled tracks with some beautifully composed and played acoustic guitar and dreamy synths and quirky electronics, it was a rather stunning collection of melancholic pieces which perhaps captured the spirit of the endless warm days that Ryan would have been immersed in while growing up in the sunshine state.
Over the last few years Ryan has more or less left his early inspirational sound and moved into the techno/house music arena somewhat, but without losing his unique sense of melody and compositional values. Maybe the influence of going out into the atmosphere of Florida's club life has made an impression on him, whatever the reason is, it really shows that Ryan can produce music of any genre which always turns out to be a deeply moving sonic experience of the highest order.
Today the sound of Phasen is a lethal cocktail of House, techno, electro, disco, dub, hip hop ambient and beyond but somehow he manages to effortlessly blend multiple genres into all of his tracks, which can work equally well for home listening as they would for causing dance floor hysteria, thanks to the combination of his stunning key work, deep spacious tones and intricate beats and often cone busting basses. Unlike a lot of producers today Ryan doesn't really care about neatly fitting in to any one genre or scene, so he makes music that borrows influences from everywhere and makes it all his own.
Autumn 2010 sees the release of "Gainesville" on Dublin imprint Dublin Xpress Recordings its a collection of the most imaginative and memorable deep techno, house club friendly tracks that I've heard in some time, which could make some of the bigger producers to seriously consider hanging up their jack leads.
The album opens up with "The Times we Forget" a deep tech house groover that starts off with dub style chords, eerie strings and earth shuddering bass, giving you a sense of uncertainty but then the track takes a serious change in direction with the introduction of some beautiful flamenco guitar and uplifting pads which erases all of your troubles and sets you up for the great journey ahead.
Next up is title track "Gainesville" think Maurizio meets Hardfloor as deep dub techno sounds and rising acid sequences meet with bouncy old school house style piano riffs which only Phasen could pull off with such ease.
"The Truths we will find" opens up with dark sweeping pads and bleeping melodies before taking you off on a solid mid tempo techno groove, again the dub techno influences are strong here but on top of this we are treated to an array of instrumentation not usually associated with this genre, from tapping wine glass melodies and stunning freestyle piano flourishes that will bring Larry Heard to mind.
Towards the end things go in an even deeper direction with "In My House" an emotive electronic symphony that combines lush pad arrangements, deep tech stabs, blues influenced smokey organ refrains and solid grooves and some rather soulful twists and turns which will delight the fans of producers like Chris Brann and The Timewriter etc..
The album comes nearer to a close with the club friendly strains of "Floridian" a bouncy tech/house tune which is full of massive build ups and breakdowns, wobbly basses and sometimes a little on the edam flavored side of melodic.
things finish off with the beautiful but short "Outroduct" which sounds like it could have come from the Icelandic producer Yagya's back catalogue.
The album also comes with a collection of remixes of the title track, the most outstanding remix is from Germany's Nachklangmusik which has the potential of dominating dance floors across the globe.. F.L.O. turns out a lovely mellow ambient dub tech mix, while Ireland's Captain Random keeps it minimal and DJ friendly with his rendition. The collection concludes with a Nacim Ladj remix, which brings it back to a retro acid flavor, with a touch of influence from the likes of UK acid pioneer A Guy Called Gerald.
Over all "Gainesville" is a great and somewhat original collection of groove based electronica that should change a lot of peoples perceptions of what techno and house music has to offer and it also gives you a reason to keep a close eye on Phasen, as I'm sure this is only a little taster of the diverse and emotionally rich music that he has in store for us in the near future and in many years to come....