Jonas Kopp

Photon Belt

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This second album from Argentinian techno producer Jonas Kopp runs with the basic blueprint laid down in his 2014 debut, Beyond the Hypnosis: powerful kicks, syncopated percussive elements, and lush synths. But while that album was warm and rounded, on this release he has dialed it up to 11, stripping away the fat and squaring off the edges into a concise, tempered dancefloor weapon that seems more hardware-heavy, with a modular feel. Based on the new age concept of a "photon belt" that is presently going to envelop the Earth, leading to a spiritual transformation for all mankind, the album has a strong sci-fi component paying tribute to titans of Detroit like Jeff Mills. Opener "Electrons Splitting" rumbles and whooshes, as though, borne on a solar wind, you are being sucked inexorably into the black hole represented in computer graphics on the cover. Once inside, the immediate assault of pounding tribal percussion takes the listener on a trip that scarcely lets up until the finish line. "Tuning Frequency" rides on a thick, bouncing bassline and acid squelches, going right back to the source. The tumbling tribal drums are back on album highlight "Galactic Core," along with swinging cymbals and portentous synth swells, while subliminal bleeps and solar winds percolate through "Aile." Things slow down a bit for the title track, which features more electro bleeps and squelches and sci-fi synth drones. The relentless forward surge of "Bridge to the Stars" really does make it seem as though you're rushing headlong through a wormhole. "Taygeta" offers a brief respite, conjuring images of the Event Horizon rumbling through the vast emptiness of space en route to its impossibly distant destination, before "5D World" ends the journey with a bang, buffeting the listener once again with busy, clattering percussion and a hypnotic, twinkling chime motif, its immense kicks becoming more and more filtered until finally it disperses into the ether. There are no two ways about it: this album is way more funky and percussion-driven, and packs a much harder punch, than Kopp's debut. In and out in under 45 minutes, this take-no-prisoners album doesn't overstay its welcome, and provides a fine snapshot of where techno is at in the late 2010s.

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