House music still dominates electronic club music in Dallas, but bass music, techno and electro also made waves in 2017. BRØKEN, Temporal Loop, Texas Recording Underground, Dolfin records and New Math records all played key roles in growing regional electronic talent.
Gavin Guthrie's Texas Recording Underground continued making headway in the boutique vinyl market with notable releases from Ill76, Convextion, Brooks Mother and Vectorvision. Guthrie still found time to drop an EP of his own and an LP under his alias, TXconnect, for Brooklyn-based Jack Department.
Convextion and Vectorvision also had a standout 12-inch release on London's Legwork records, which is run by Dallas expat Lance Desardi.
For this week's mixtape Q&A, we asked Chris Lund, better known as Left/Right, and Kerim Bey from the label Temporal Loop for their takes on Dallas music in 2017. This week's mix, boiled down from more than 200 tracks released by Dallas artists last year, focuses on some of the more unusual tunes coming out of Dallas' electronic scene.
What was Left/Right's place in the Texas electronic scene in 2017?
Chris Lund: Well first, Dallas is my home. I live on the edge of Deep Ellum, not far from my studio at Rockit Labs. You'll occasionally see me pop in late night at dance events in the area. I work nocturnally in Deep Ellum, engineering and tutoring local producers as well as creating my own music/video. I was fortunate to perform around Texas this year, including Middlelands, several showcases — including my own — at SXSW, Oaktopia and a few others. I also co-run my label, BRØKEN, with Zander (Prime) and protege Isenberg, who works with me at the studio. I also work with Audiophile XXL, another great Dallas label. Sadly, I really miss throwing events; it was one my favorite things to do when I was active with our Future series.
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How about beyond Texas?
Lund: Beyond Texas was much heavier this year. My Summer Shadows tour took me through a few countries and 20-plus cities including London, Glastonbury, Burning Man and all over U.S./Canada. I received some really solid support this year in global press, including DJ Mag, Mixmag, UKF and international radio. I also do some low-level A&R work for Punks, my home label based in London and my first releases for Dirtybird (San Francisco) and Insomniac Records (L.A.).
What is it like running a label with a much higher profile outside of your hometown?
Lund: It's fun. It often feels kind of secretive that way, which is kind of our vibe. Our next compilation is called Conspiracy Vol. 1 if that gives you any idea. A lot of BRØKEN's followers think we're in London. We get that all the time, but our music really comes from all over. We've signed artists from the U.S., U.K., France, Finland, Spain, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Russia and more. We definitely like to operate on a more global view and have been gaining a really cool cult following.
What is your take on the state of electronic music in Dallas?
Lund: This is a difficult question for me as I've spent over half my life being a part of this scene, and this year I've had to pull back a bit to keep up with my studio, label, creating and touring, so it's bittersweet to feel a little out of the loop. What I love about Dallas is it is full of talent, and when people find out about it, it usually comes as a surprise.
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The other thing that I think is often overlooked is that because we're in a sea of red-state conservatism, we do seem to have a healthy counterculture in the dance scene here, and it blooms more in small pockets, which kind of makes it more intimate than I've seen in larger cities. I've seen much larger cities not be able to support the amount of shows and touring acts that Dallas does. And as someone that teaches, too, I get to see a growing population of young people discovering new music with fresh eyes, as well as the history we have here.
What was Temporal Loop's place in Dallas in 2017?
Kerim Bey: I would honestly say it was quietly tucked away for the latter half of 2017 — a couple releases early on from Houston producer YinYang Audio and myself. Other than that, I focused on growing the particular sound that Temporal Loop falls into. I wanted to make sure the releases were more meaningful and reached more ears. I also met tons of awesome people along the way in Dallas and all over the world. I was honored to be able to have Temporal Loop represented with Nothing But Techno and work together on the Marla Singer show.
What's your take on techno in Dallas?
Bey: It's so hard to say. It's very fluid, as in what particular subgenre of techno is really hitting off at a particular time. That's is a great step from what it was, no doubt. It's not a question anymore if there is techno in Dallas. It's more of what is Dallas' favorite flavor of techno.
"M.A.N.D.Y." — Rhythm, & Soul (Hands Free & Red Eye Remix)
"5th Dimensional Groove" — Maceo Plex & Swayzak
"Into the Box" — Gavin Guthrie
"Dusk Frontier (Dorian's Concrete RMX)"
"Jacoozy Music" — Tobor Rellik
"Ninex" — Maetrik
"Plugged" — Racxhe
"Windowpane" — J.Caprice
"Unexpected Meeting (James Kelley Remix)" — Marla Singer
"Burn" — Left/Right
"Strange Hyper (Annie Hall Remix)" — Cygnus
"Summer Indoors" — Convextion
"Will I Dream (Blixaboy Remix)" — Plant43
"ZY Clone (Vectorvison Re-vision)" — Convextion
"Putrid" — Kerim Bey