Feature: Dense and Pika (Coil)

Dense and Pika emerged towards the end of 2011 under slightly mysterious circumstances, dropping their first few tracks on their own white label ‘Dense and Pika’ and initially refraining from confirming their identities, preferring instead to let their music do the talking. This tactic is of course utterly dependent on being able to produce high quality music, but with releases such as ‘Mooger Fooger’ and ‘Buttplug‘ dropping early, they had that base well and truely covered. Since then they have become one of the most coveted names in techno, both in and outside of the UK. In reality, the duo consists of Chris Spero A.K.A. Glimpse and Alex Jones, the co-founder of the wildly successful Hypercolour label. No doubt their past connections helped burgeon the early success of the collaboration and set them of on the right footing. This point aside however, the past four years have seen the duo focus largely on releasing under their new moniker and in the process they have churned out a breadth of stunning music.

Most recently they dropped their ‘Lynn EP’ on Hypercolour, interestingly their only release to date on Alex Jones’ label. The EP is intriguingly conceived, the slant is definitely towards club-ready blinders but balance is provided by the introverted ‘tantrum‘ that chugs away at its own captivating pace with disregard to the dancefloor. Layered with eerie futuristic sounds and underpinned by a kick that rolls through the majority of the track, the whole song has a distinctly Hypercolour tinge to it and is so easy to lose yourself in. On the flip side, the lead track ‘Lynn’ is one of those blinders I mentioned earlier, a menacing bassline propels the track into a world of stomping feet and gnashing bassfaces whilst the slightly more accessible ‘Hitting the Ceiling‘ will probably rock many a dancefloors this summer.

If one were to try and nitpick then you might say that Dense and Pika’s sound was always going to be successful given that they stick to the winning formula of heavy, bass ridden killers that make DJ’s swoon and dancefloors sway. This would be unfair and a massive generalization but right up until the end of 2013 you could probably argue the point quite successfully. With their ‘Colt EP’ however, the British duo essentially put that debate to rest. A quick mention first of ‘Black Deep‘, an archetypical Dense and Pika release with a rolling bassline and enough groove to push most dancefloors into overdrive. Apart from that however, the EP is laden with compellingly crafted pieces of electronica. Perhaps the most interesting of these is ‘Airless‘, a live piece recorded in one take with support from both percussion and woodwind sections. The novelty of live instruments aside, the track is wildly entertaining with an slightly non-European feel to the whole affair.  The lead track ‘Colt’ is an absolute stunner, bass so deep that you can almost feel it and a piano sample that completely transforms the track into a soulfully deep classic.

Supposedly the duo only ever intended to release on their own white label but for whatever reason they moved away from this idea and the majority of their releases have now actually come on different labels. In total they dropped four white label 12″ and nestled inbetween these was the first EP they put out on an established label. Their ‘Crispy Duck’ EP from 2012 was released on Hotflush Recordings, with whom they’ve dropped another three (to date) releases. The EP in its entirety is three tracks and a little over 23 minutes of straight up vibes. At the heart of all of this is ‘Coil’.

‘Coil’ is one of Dense and Pika’s standouts, with hi hats that literally force you to your feet, a beat with so much groove and funky sounds that are neither underplayed nor overpowering. Proper dance music at its finest.

Hamraj Gulamali

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