If you believe what you read online, there’s no fresher place for techno right now than Tbilisi, Georgia. Local nights like Bassiani combine a free-rave spirit with cutting-edge sounds, where choice international acts join home-grown DJ talent. But so far, the Caucasian capital hasn’t matched its parties with labels that have reached the international scene. A new imprint hoping to change that is Zeinkali, whose debut EP, while not from a Georgian producer, gives a strong idea of the favoured local sound.
6D22 is Italian producer Giorgio Luceri, who uses the alias to serve up tougher variations on the silvery, retro-leaning house he releases under his real name. The four tracks on IŠTAR are some of his roughest to date, characterised by a constant density of percussive detail. The resulting music is intense enough to push a dancefloor to the limit, but sometimes allows little breathing space for individual elements to shine.
The most obvious reference point here is Detroit techno, whose comet-trail melodies are here grafted onto rugged house jams. Opener 11111111111 is a surging mission statement, its synths filtered over snares and cowbells that careen into chaotic pile-ups. There’s a seasick quality to the arrangement, its bassline lurching back and forth, which draws attention to the lack of progression across the track.
If the opener feels slightly unfinished, Luceri finds his footing on the other three cuts. 0938342-2/26 is a touch more measured, allowing its high, hopeful melodies more space to hit home. The B-side offers welcome variation. The low-slung bass throb of 3T-283H0RUS offers a kind of dungeon funk, topped with barely-there melodic shimmers that seem to catch the light just so. Final cut IŠTAR opens with classic, Underground Resistance-referencing strings and a slo-mo acid line before the unexpected arrival of a hefty broken beat rhythm, closing the record with muscle and finesse.