A month back Amsterdam DJ/Producer Bart Skils released a new batch of super steady and subtlety rich techno wonders with his Bells of The Revolution four tracker for Drumcode. It’s been rather a long wait since the release of his excellent Black Vans EP back in 2016 and you get the feeling that it will be far from his only release this year.
Like all four tracks, the title track is a work of art in its patient multi-layered construction. It’s such a smooth ride that it takes a second listen for the inner machinations to reveal themselves as they drift in and out like they’re in an eliptical orbit, assuming different guises with each pass. An inexorable beat and a chugging low end give the track its momentum which is complemented in an unyieldingly similar way by an acid line utilised differently at times in tone and level. As the track slowly unravels, the hypnotic vibe is soon deepened by slightly warm atmospheric undertones which herald the entry of subtle bell sounds that build into a semi-cacophonous constant.
Similar inventiveness and subtle diversity are present throughout the releases further three tracks. The standout of the three is ‘Ocean Drive’ which belies the images conjured up by its title with its dark, urgent and pensive feel and expert use of classic techno motifs. ‘Vocalized’ works a more upbeat tone through its effortless groove while ‘Retrodade’ hosts that Rozalla ‘Everybody’s Free’ sample that’s been present in many of his and Adam Beyer’s DJ sets going back to last year.
The unique, subtle and nuanced approach that Bart Skils brings to the techno table is more than evident across the EP. His readily displayed respect for and discipline toward the form is present in everything he does. But accompanying this is his constant determination to search for new ways to do more with less and continue experimenting with layers and textures to feed the inner musical mind. It’s in there that you’ll find the fruits of Skils’s labour, those minimal rhythmic and melodic prisms which place immense value on both time and space. It is through this that he furnishes the listener with the opportunity to create their own transformative journeys. Few are able to match the unique and powerful groove Skils is able to create around a straight techno beat with minimal percussion changes. With Bells of The Revolution he again demonstrates an understanding better than most that not only is rhythm best created holistically but that the best techno is produced playing the long game.
James Stocker – March 7, 2018.
1. Bells Of The Revolution
2. Ocean Drive
Bells of The Revolution
Bart Skils (NET)
From the EP, ‘Bells of The Revolution’, Drumcode.
Bart Skils Facebook