Premiere: Etienne – Combat EP [TRAFFIC013]

Since their launch in 2013, Frankfurt based Traffic Records have cemented their reputation as a vinyl-only powerhouse. The label is known for consistently pushing the boundaries of the minimal soundscape with a refreshing lack of predictability, embracing influences as far-reaching as electro, UK garage and bleep. Each Traffic release captures a distinctly unique energy and intoxicating strangeness that brings the leftfield to the dancefloor’s front-left.

This essence of the Traffic sound is encapsulated by its latest four-tracker: Traffic013, Etienne’s ‘Combat EP’. The strikingly diverse 12” stomper comes from French-born Berlin-Based DJ and producer, Etienne Ottd, whose spaced-out sound takes listeners into uncharted territory of techno, electro and tech-house. His calculated ‘quality-over-quantity’ approach has allowed him to curate an enviable discography of accessible strangeness. With a biography like this, it goes without saying that today’s premiere has us very excited.

Heating things up on the A1 is ‘Rez’: a pared-back, bass-heavy groover with a grabbing kick. A wobbly cosmic-sounding stab cuts through the deranged melody, keeping our interest peaked and our feet firmly on the dancefloor. The A2 is home to ‘Disto’, an aptly titled dystopian journey into a world of distortion. There’s markedly more going on in this track than the A1, but a distinct rawness ensures it never feels busy or overwhelming. The spaced out bleeps that enter midway through provide an intoxicating contrast to the track’s slamming hook.

Flip it over and the B side begins with ‘Le Spnk’: a hard-hitting 4/4 stomper that reeks of a sweat-soaked peak-time basement. A shuffling techno hat pattern and growling synth keep the vibes well and truly on the dark side. An avid soundcloud commenter described the track as a “floor destroyer”– we couldn’t agree more. Closing off the EP on the B2 is the atmospheric and ethereal ‘A New Dawn’ where synth lines dance among a muffled kick. It is the type of track that restores a wave of energy to the dancefloor– the ideal addition to a spacy sunrise set.

On the whole the EP’s experimentation with an eclectic soundscape has paid off in spades. It’s near impossible to pick a track of the record – a testament to Etienne’s sorcery. To ensure you get your hands on the wax, pre-order a copy from your distributor of choice now.

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