Throwback: Hidden Hawaii

Whilst Felix K’s mix for mnml ssgs in 2010 displayed his techno chops, his 2013 album, ‘Flowers of Destruction’, on his own cult Berlin label Hidden Hawaii is undeniably a drum and bass record label.

However, it’s a distinctly Berlin drum and bass; soundscape-y, glacial, infused with a minimal techno aesthetic now firmly rooted in the city’s musical heritage. Since that initial release the label’s output has had two unifying features- all the artists’ names sound like postcodes: SKV18, DB1, FLXK1, and all the music is deep, atmospheric, techy, and marshaled by dub production practices.

Whilst a love of original Jamaican dub is obvious in Basic Channel, The Orb, the first album by Leftfield; its influence is more abstracted in Hidden Hawaii.

Every Hidden Hawaii release has a futuristic aesthetic, but is also awash with echo & reverb and lots of space, out of which huge spectral stabs of noise will suddenly emerge.

A.n.D’s release on the label was very different compared to their usual sound. Instead of abrasive, hammering industrial techno, their ‘Sunday 85’ EP is a down-tempo menacing world of echo, occupying space somewhere between dub, techno, and half-step drum n bass.

It is fitting that having taken the dub techno baton that the label is distributed by Hard Wax, in the same building that Von Oswald and Ernestus gave birth to the sound.

– Jack Carolan

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