Welcome to our first Bad Haz Techno track review by Hegstraction and guest reviewer, DJ & Producer, Peter Harich. We kick off this series with a fantastic new release, Thunder Oz, which is the second track of four on the EP, Whip and Lash, from Finnish hard techno producer, Jori Samarin. From Helsinki, Jori has a thrash/death metal background as a drummer, transitioning through hardcore techno, to hard techno over the years. However, this track has the versatility to span the spectrum between regular techno sets as well as hard techno ones. He "wanted to create a big atmospheric feeling" with this composition, and I think he definitely achieved that. "The lead sound formed while I was fooling around with some distortion plugins, and the melody was meant to be something different that I'm used to making. I feel tranquility in the distorted lead, and it brings me hope, everything doesn't have to be dark and evil all the time."
For this review, I'm joined by guest reviewer, DJ & Producer, Peter Harich. If you would like, you can play the track here as you read the review:
H: "What are your first impressions, Peter?"
PH: "The first thing I thought was, hey, this is chill for Jori, something a little different to the regular hard stuff that he puts out."
H: "Yeah, this is a really versatile track; it's hard techno, but wouldn't be out of place in a regular techno set, and also it has a soundtrack vibe. I could imagine it as the intro to a TV show, something like Vikings, for example. How about the kick?"
PH: "Jori always brings the kicks; that rumble is always spot on. I would watch a master class on YouTube with Jori explaining how he makes his kicks."
H: "Right, always a solid, hard kick from Jori, and this one has a nice metallic edge to it."
PH: "I don't know if there is a lot of added bass to the track; that gritty lead covers it nicely."
H: "Some interesting percussion to start with, which is always nice to hear something a little different from the norm, and then progresses into more typical techno forms."
PH: "Yeah, fairly regular hard techno perc work. Feels slightly safe; I would love to hear Jori experiment with the percs a little more."
H: "Absolutely. I think that goes for most techno producers to be fair. Let's see, pads?"
PH: "Great warm lush pads which I'm a sucker for; I wish all pads were made in the 80´s, and then they just stopped making them."
H: "Haha, the 80's! For me, great choice and execution of pads to give it that contrast, completes the atmosphere nicely. Alright, let's talk synths! The 'epic' distorted synths really make this track, creating a powerful atmosphere, and there is plenty of variation to keep it interesting."
PH: "I've already talked about that gritty lead which is really nice. Lots of feels in it. Serum?"
H: "Possibly. I think the melody does a great job of just sitting underneath the synth, and providing that contrast again."
PH: "Never really gripped me, and I don't care. It's not a melody track; it's more of an atmospheric track, and the melody is just right for that."
H: "There's some effective manipulation of delay and reverb, which hard techno producers are especially good at."
PH: "That reverb. The only way it could possibly be better is if it was an analogue spring reverb. I forgive him though; it's a great reverb."
H: "For sure. OK, sound design. There's some clever stuff here with how some of the atmospheric pads merge into the distorted synth, or at least seem to along with the melody. The variation on the synth too allows it to never get boring, always stimulating and energising."
PH: "Jori never overuses the filters, which is great. Some producers filter the shit out of their tracks, and it gets old quickly. Jori uses the synths and the progression to create highs and lows instead."
H: "Nice point. I'm not noticing much layering; not huge amounts going on here at any one time, but that's how it should be for a track like this."
PH: "I actually hear a lot of layers going on because of the reverb and delays, but I don't think this is a track with 28 channels going on. Doesn't need it; the synths fill out the space nicely with that reverb and the long tails."
H: "I probably should have talked about this earlier, but the hook(s) are pretty obvious here; the distorted synth and its variations get you from the start."
PH: "The gritty synth is the hook, but the repetitive 2 chord pad is the star of the track."
H: "And the atmosphere is really all about that distorted synth, and he gives the time and space throughout the track for it to be really epic in nature."
PH: "Jori brings lots of atmosphere as always. Generally, hard techno producers are great at giving their tracks a lot of atmosphere. Us "peak time" producers have a lot to learn from that."
H: "Let's just look at the overall arrangement. Nice intro. Maybe the kick could have come in a touch later. But overall, the intro doesn't give too much away before we really get to witness that huge synth set of releases. Then, it gets into a really nice groove with everything coming together. We get into a nice transition with some kick variation into a lull, and then we're off to the races again. We lose the synths as the outro starts and we get to hear that solid kick in a more exposed way."
PH: "Nothing to complain about. The gritty synth, the warm lush pads, the rumbling kick, the frantic hi-hat and the little bass stabs are all there."
H: "How about the mixing?"
PH: "Probably the clearest I've heard of Jori's tracks; I like this clarity from him."
H: "Yeah, less busy than usual. Actually, I'm a big fan of something sticking out of the mix in a good way as the distorted synth does here. The kick seems really well integrated into the track. Perhaps, the percussion could have been a little more forward earlier on."
PH: "The mastering is loud. It's clear. It's balanced. Works in headphones and on studio monitors. It doesn't rattle my car windows, and it works in clubs. A lot of producers forget that most listen to their music on shitty sound systems, or in the car. So, it's important not to master just for clubs. This is a good job."
H: "Yep, seems really well mastered. The first time I played this in my studio, the quality jumped out at me, and also for the remixes on the EP. Hmm, what else? I've got a category for trance-inducing, but I don't think it's that kind of track."
PH: "I actually feel the pads; the pads alone can make me close my eyes. It's not a trance-inducing track per say, but I'm just a sucker for that warm lush pad."
H: "As for danceable, I think it becomes more and more danceable as the track progresses, but this is the kind of track where you're on the dance floor taking stock of the set and where you are, or at least trying to, haha, and you may just be standing there taking in the glory of the moment."
PH: "I'd personally use this track as a starter track; it becomes more danceable as the track goes on as you mentioned."
H: "Any other comments, Peter?"
PH: "This is a little different from Jori, but I really hope that he continues to explore this type of track more. When I play clubs or do mix sets for radio I prefer to stay in the 128-136 bpm range, and this kind of track from Jori allows me to use his tracks a lot more."
H: "Yeah, the versatility of this track along with all its other attributes should make it quite successful I think. Well, that's about everything; what a great track! Thanks for joining me, Peter. Any new releases from you?"
PH: "Actually, Rapid Eye Movement just came out last week."
H: "Awesome. I'll check it out."
PH: "Thanks for having me on."
You can also find Jori Samarin on social media:
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