Published by Davide Pappalardo on November 17, 2018
Adam X is a well known and renowned name in the world of techno, and with good reasons. Adam Mitchell, brother of American techno/house DJ Frankie Bones, has been into techno since the early 90’s, making a name for himself alone, and thanks both to his collaborations with his sibling, both to the legendary Groove Records record shop – one of the top techno record retailers for DJs & vinyl collectors across the world. With his love for the genre and support, he helped the development of the techno scene in New York, even by organizing important events like Storm Rave and launching the Sonic Groove record label in 1995.
At the end of the 90’s something changed in the techno landscape: the most commercial forms of techno, especially minimal techno and tech house, became very popular at the expense of the old-school sound and the harder takes on the genre. Feeling the genre had lost its true aim and nature, Mitchell did something very risky. He relocated to Berlin, following his new-found interest EBM, electro-industrial and rhythmic noise, and here he started a new life and career, devoted to the mixing of techno, EBM and industrial, both with his albums and EPs like Sensory Deprivation (Things To Come Records, 2003) and Fate Unknown (Psycho-Dynamics, 2005), both with his label and the promotion of kindred artists like Orphx, Obtaine (Francesco Baudazzi aka Violet Poison), Northern Structures, Max Durante, Blush Response, and many more.
Today his vision has won, and the crossover between techno and industrial has become an essential reality in modern techno, spawning hundreds of projects, releases, and parties and events dedicated to the genre. But things haven’t always been easy, and at the beginning Adam X had to fight against the prejudice present in both worlds; he managed to succeed thanks to his skills as a DJ and his undeniable knowledge of the medium. If some so called techno-industrial artists produce what it’s just dull techno with hard beats, that’s never the case with his music, in which he keeps all the main elements and roots of techno, fusing them with industrial, EBM and rhythmic noise effortlessly.
Recon Mission it’s his sixth full length (not counting side-projects like Traversable Wormhole, Mass-X-Odus, The Secret Initiative, ADMX-71, AX&P), a new adventure in the world of techno industrial with sci-fi inspired titles and themes, and with sounds touching all the different aspects of his music. An atmosphere drenched in conspiracy theories and a narrative sequence offer us way more than a collection of club tracks, showing a true full album with a coherent structure and engaging moments.
Tales of mystery is the first chapter of the story, a grooving episode with throbbing bass-lines and well placed ambiances and synth sounds, soon developing modular mantras guided by stomping rhythms and evocative vocal samples. A tense atmosphere is achieved by the means of sparse elements, in a crescendo made of progressively added effects. Modular bodies is a beast of a techno track, not surprisingly built on modular sounds and looping drums. The steady rhythm meets syncopated beats, while electronic effects and Adam’s vocals picture new narrations.
Bimini wall keeps things fast, using old-school techno sounds with obsessive rhythmic patterns and snares. Grooving synths and futuristic arpeggiators complete the vivid soundscape, conjuring an electric battle made music. The never ending quest sees industrial-tinged sharp effects in a caustic atmosphere with stomping bass sounds and rhythmic-noise inspired patterns. Adam’s vocals return, malevolent in their crawling nature, showing a perfect voice for this thrilling track with ominous soundscapes.
The Title track returns toward techno/EBM territories, showcasing hypnotizing bass-lines and hard drums, while heavily effected vocals develop a robotic mantra. A mechanical structure dominates the number, in a really enthralling songwriting, which does not forfeit old-school synths and chanting vocal deliveries. Mythological creatures ends the album with its tight broken rhythms and distorted lines, evoking a groovy crescendo with riffing sounds and stark beats. The listener will find himself surrounded by inescapable loops and subtle elements.
A brilliant album, an experience that offers a modern techno work perfectly placed in the tradition of the genre, the current wave of techno industrial, and the future, at the same time. Adam X doesn’t follow, he builds paths way ahead of other producers, crafting a sound with solid roots, but without self-imposed boundaries or limits. Every track is a discovery, a piece of a greater scenario, and the flow of the album works perfectly. Any lover of modern techno with industrial elements, or any lover of good modern electronic music, should at least listen to this great achievement from a pioneer.
Label: Sonic Groove