It’s hard to ignore the proliferation of toughness in dance music at the moment. Hard, gritty, noisiness seems to be where it’s at. Truants – the collective and the blog – is a product of its time, and our focus, if you can call it that, is kaleidoscopic. We want everything, we’re interested in it all, we want silk and steel in equal measure. So we’re making the case that allowing delicacy to take center stage is particularly tough.
It’s likely that a name jumped into your head as soon as you read that first sentence – and we’ll admit it, we love L.I.E.S as much as the next blog. In fact, if our recent output is anything to go by, we probably love them more. But as important as aggression is, we’re as excited about techno devilry as we are about angelic house movements. We’re thinking about how the compositional restraint necessary to create a track which builds to its zenith with reserve and delicacy is just as mighty as the admittedly gorgeous brutality on display in some recent releases.
The track in question was released on a label, which, like other great labels, sidesteps categorization in order to give primacy to aesthetic and intent. We’re talking about Workshop, and we’re preaching to the choir, we know. In recent years Workshop have reminded us that ‘raw’ and ‘tough’ can also be ‘soft’ and ‘slow’. In fact, you probably actually managed to grab a copy of the track which inspired these musings: Workshop Special 02 B2, by Workshop boss Even Tuell & Julian Jöckel, aka Midnightopera. Like so many other releases on the label, the track is powerful not because of its force, but because of its control. It was released mid-September this year, and its parallel beauties are perfect for the season: there are blossoming pads are as gentle as dusk in autumn, whilst its drum patterns are all jagged sorrow, a bittersweet goodbye kiss to summer. Perhaps it’s because the record was inspired by an exhibition on fashion and society, but this track sounds like shimmering fabric shot through with staples. Midnightopera claimed that he uses the moniker “whenever the music is eminently directed to the imagination of the listeners”, and this is one to close your eyes to, for club meditation and dancing philosophers; silk and steel for nighttime introspection.