Perc – Three Tracks To Send To Your Ghost Producer
Perc, AKA Ali Wells, conceived of his latest EP as a response to what he calls the “endless wave of rip-offs, rehashes and re-edits” of “Look What Your Love Has Done To Me”, the smash single from his last album, Bitter Music. It’s become a central issue in techno lately. There have been plagiarism accusations and questions about what in dance music even counts as plagiarism. Jeff Mills mistook someone else’s techno track as his own, perhaps the result of someone being ripped off so much that the copycats become indistinguishable from the original. That’s not even mentioning the ongoing debate on ghostwriting. All of this raises a question: what does it mean to be original in a decades-old genre?
For Wells, it’s a matter of personality and skill. He’s been at the vanguard of an industrial, hard-as-nails techno sound for years, and his label, Perc Trax, has given younger artists in the same vein a leg-up as well. This sort of aggro techno has become a whole scene in its own right, reducing what Wells helped create to a lowest-common-denominator template of sizzling-hot kick drums and pounding chords. On Three Tracks To Send To Your Ghost Producer, Wells shows his imitators how it’s done. These tunes are among the most direct and stripped down in Wells’s catalogue, and track titles like “Toxic NRG” and “Driller” should give you an idea of what to expect. But it’s the details, like the drum fills on “Pivot,” that help these tracks stand out. If the EP is a bit too straightforward to be counted among Wells’s best work, it’s satisfying to hear a master of the form go straight for the jugular.