Completely Operational by TenGrams

Classy Italian label N.O.I.A. serves up a clutch of heady techno tracks here: the originals are by brothers TenGrams and the on-point remixes come from the legendary DJ Skull and Black Asteroid.

Completely Operational by TenGrams Photo by TenGrams
Endless Possibilities

TenGrams are brothers Alessandro and Davide Piatto, who collectively have a deep and long understanding of dance music. Davide runs the N.O.I.A. label and was one of Italy's first touring electronic live acts, performing and recording with drum machines and synthesizers as early as 1978.  He was also behind seminal Italo outfit Klein + M.B.O and proto house hit 'Dirty Talk.' Since then they have released under an array of aliases, have clocked up many hits on Beatport and this new project brings them back to their electronic roots, with influences like sci-fi movies and old school techno looming large. TenGrams are mostly hardware producers, and that shows here.

Up first is 'Altered States', a hallucinatory techno hypnotiser with rolling kicks, depth-charged percussive minimalism and simple but effective synth hooks. The atmosphere here is dark and abstract, organic with lots of bass and lo frequencies.

Black Asteroid is the brainchild of Bryan Black, who was a sound engineer for Prince, was in a band called MOTOR and releases on Chris Liebing's CLR. His remix is hard, heavy and heady. A wonky synth line permeates your brain before more and more frazzled sirens and industrial details litter the groove.  

Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Ron Maney, aka DJ Skull, has proven to be an indispensable contributor to techno over the years. Starting out in the eighties, he released on seminal labels like Trax, Djax-Up and Green Velvet's Relief.  His remix is more tripped out and spooky, with lots of lead synths, cantering drums and whip snapping percussion.

Next is 'Question Authority', a funky, drum lead number with stabbed synths, vocals drenched in reverb and a very modern sense of urgency. 'It's a Mess But We Love It Dub' is a more cerebral and atmospheric cut that rolls along wide open vistas with watery droplets, chiming tinkles and other delicate but delicious details adding to the sense of suspense.

'Repetition Is A Form Of Change' then gets back to more peak time techno. Above the building tension of the drums and rattling, train like percussion are distant daubs of xylophone sounds that take your mind to another galaxy. Lastly, ' Triptamina' is a supple, Planet E styled bit of colourful, soulful techno that hovers above the ground and douses you in magically manipulated machine lines.

This is proper techno from talented veterans that manages to put most modern day imitators to shame.


TenGrams - Completely Operational
Release date 15th January 2015
Label N.O.I.A. Records

1. TenGrams - Altered States (Original Mix)
2. TenGrams - Altered States (Black Asteroid Remix)
3. TenGrams - Altered States (Ron Maney aka Dj Skull Remix)
4. TenGrams - Question Authority
5. TenGrams - It’s A Mess But We Love It Dub
6. TenGrams - Repetition Is A Form Of Change
7. TenGrams - Triptamina

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