The duo Technimatic have been releasing their soulful and snare-heavy brand of jungle-infused music for over 12 years and have hit all the major labels while doing it. It’s clear to anyone listening to their tracks over the years that members Pete Rogers and Andy Powel get their love of snares and syncopation from the amens and drum patterns of the early days. With his new project Wardown, however, Rogers wanted to dig even deeper into that nostalgia and make a record that captured not only those iconic snares but the sights, sounds and memories that were the backdrop to them.
With its self-titled first album out now on Blu Mar Ten Music, the Wardown project has indeed mixed the vintage snares, drum patterns, melodies and vocals of his nostalgia dreams with a set of experimental and ambient sounds that really bring those memories into focus. Even if he had never explained the thoughts and memories that inspired this album, the sounds contained therein are so vivid and visceral that anyone listening will be transported back instantly. Perhaps not everyone would go back to Luton, England in the 90s, but the feeling created by Wardown is deeper than time or place; it’s emotional, it’s primal and instantly understandable.
We do a lot of playlists here on Your EDM, as it’s always fun to find out what was happening in the artist’s head when writing a piece of music and what tracks they themselves associate with said piece, but Rogers as Wardown has taken his playlist and thoughts about it to an entirely different please. He describes the scenes and feelings he had when his memory about each track was created and exactly how formative they were to his sound, himself and Wardown. Just as vivid and visceral as the album itself, we recommend reading each description while listening to each track; it’s so well-described, we guarantee you’ll feel exactly what he did.
Skanna – This Way [Skanna]
Soul Sense Records was on Stuart Street in Luton during the 90s. Dave, Gary and Jon were behind the counter. There weren’t any unspoken rules or ideas of ‘paying your dues’ with Gary; he just gave you the best records they had. Dave was harder to crack but over time I made progress. If I got Jon my heart always sank. When I was handed this over the counter one Sunday afternoon Gary said it was it was essential. He was an old soul boy and sold his jazz funk and boogie records in the back corner of the shop. He knew when something was good.
Future Sounds Of Hardcore – Euphoria [Dee Jay Recordings]
We got word that Sarah Hall’s parents had gone away for the weekend. She lived on my road and she was going out with Rick Nelson at the time. He said it was OK. Me and Leigh Fisher carried my decks and mixer down the hill. Afterwards I ran back up and got the plastic bag of records I’d bought from the shop earlier in the day. Frantic and excited plugging in and wiring up; Rick was always the best at that. I played this tune first and when it dropped someone knocked a lamp off a side table in the front room and it smashed. Sarah didn’t seem to care.
Jodeci – Feenin (LTJ Bukem 10 minute remix) [white label]
I was first in the shop one Saturday. My bike was leaned up against the railings outside and Dave was making a pot of coffee behind the counter. He offered me a cup, even though I always said no, and then reached below the counter. ‘Think you might like this one’, he smiled. White label, scribbled handwriting. 10 minutes of wonder. When I got home later, I just looked at the record for ages and didn’t even play it. It meant something more than just the music.
Digital – Spacefunk (Futurebound remix) [Timeless]
Wes Carter always had the best records. His older brother was a DJ and mates with Jon who worked at the shop, so it meant he would come to school, unzip his rucksack and pull out promos and test presses the rest of us had never seen. Prestige. Look but don’t touch. It meant everything and the jealousy made me feel sick. Especially with this one.
Ed Rush – August [No U Turn]
Raves and free parties were in air back then. Exodus were the local crew. But we were still kids. I was standing outside McDonalds one Saturday afternoon with Gary Daly and Tony Wade, fingers greasy and salty from the chips and nuggets. A car cruised down the hill and parked right by us. The sub-bass was already rattling the glass doors of Marks & Spencers, and when the driver opened his door, this track screamed out. Long dreads fell down his back, and he rested his arms on the roof, the sun glinting off his gold tooth, until another guy arrived and they got in and sped off. It was a brief window into a world just out of reach.
Intense – The Genesis Project [Rugged Vinyl]
Greg Owen’s cousin was older than us and he had a car. Ford Escort RS2000 MK1, resprayed bright orange. Decent system in it, too. We were driving around town and listening to a new tape pack he’d bought; AWOL At The Ministry. It was so good. I asked to borrow it and he said OK as long as I lent him this record in return. Two weeks later when I asked for it back he told me he’d left it on the parcel shelf of the Escort in the sun. It was ruined. But he was older and bigger than us, so I laughed and pretended it was OK. It wasn’t.
Orca – Intallect [Lucky Spin]
Rick used to steal people’s records. Everybody knew but he always laughed it off and for some reason nobody called him out on it. One day me, Leigh and Graham Smith made a plan to get into his bedroom and look around. Rick NEVER let anyone in his room and I can’t remember now how we did it. But the records were there, this one and piles of others. Rick said he’d bought them off a friend and we left it at that. When I think of it now I can see something that was invisible to me back then. His family had no money.
DJ Tamsin & The Monk – A Better Place (DJ Trace mix) [White House]
I had the box room in our house, a cramped little ‘L’ shape with an airing cupboard that whirred and grumbled through the day and night. My record collection grew, as did the speakers, and when Leigh and the boys were round queuing up for their turn to mix, it was standing room only. I convinced my parents I didn’t need a bed, so from the age of 14 until I left home I slept on a fold-out piece of foam. Records like this made it worth it.
The Sentinel – Pulse Of Life [Basement]
Leigh used to build speakers in his loft. Woofers, tweeters, wires and solder. His dad worked as a technician at Vauxhall Motors and I think it ran in the blood. He invited me up one day to see his latest creation. It was a big one, 15” sub. That was serious business in our world. Bigger was definitely better. When we played this track through it and the bass dropped we both looked at each other and grinned.
Source Direct – Secret Liaison [GLR]
Soul Sense, 1996. A rainy Thursday evening, the traffic crawling by outside, smudgy red and white light through the window. As I leaned against the counter and Dave put this record on the turntable, there was a general feeling in the busy shop, a kind of tacit understanding, that this track might never be bettered. I’m still waiting.