Fearless

Sometimes albums from the recent past, the last year or so, are the ones that get forgotten about. One of 2019’s albums that I’ve bene making time to go back to is Richard Fearless’ Deep Rave Memory. Fearless has honed his sound in recent times, purifying everything down to a sleek, industrial blend of ambient acid techno. Death In Vegas moved in this direction in 2011 with the Trans- Love Energies album and then even moreso with 2016’s Transmission, a double vinyl set of futuristic techno, Detroit via East London. His studio is a shipping container overlooking the Thames and London’s Docklands area, a metal box filled with vinyl, computers and vintage gear. There’s an article with pictures here. If environment and psychogeography affect the production of art- and I think they do- then this combination of shipping container, East London and the river must have played a role in the increasingly purified sound that has come out of Richard’s imagination. Deep Rave Memory, the title track, is an eleven minute trip, a kick drum leading us in and and a discordant synth sound, two notes up and down, a wobbly siren sound behind it. An acidic topline comes to the fore. Four minutes in it all shifts, a siren synth refrain taking over before most of the elements drop out and then build again for an increasingly intense, sweetly melodic second half.

In 2018 Richard put out Honey, a one off single with Sasha Grey, a song I’ve raved about before. You can find it at Bandcamp. The year before he released Sweet Venus, a limited 12″ only release that seems to be coming from the same place. Sweet Venus starts with an erratic dancing synth line and a spray can hiss of percussion before a long, ghostly, distant chord comes into play. It came out on Fearless’ own label, Drone. Label name and sound perfectly aligned. It all goes off just before three minutes, the drums accelerating, the track suddenly gathering momentum, a techno bullet train.

Working backwards in 2014 there were two 12″ singles, Higher Electronic States and Gamma Ray. Gamma Ray is clearly part of this, an eight minute slice of tension and release, pattering drums, metallic hiss, more looping synth notes flitting about, bouncing around a shipping container above a river.

Gamma Ray

Ballardian Dreams

Sunday always seems ideal for the long mix, the Sabbath lending itself to the extended DJ mix. Today’s is from Richard Fearless and a mix titled Ballardian Dreams. In 1971 JG Ballard said ‘Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century’. He also said ‘civilised life is based on a huge number of illusions in which we collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us’. Both seem pertinent in some way.

For this mix Richard Fearless has mined the influences that went into his recent Deep Rave Memory album and seemlessly stitched together ninety minutes of electro, acid, techno, EBM and industrial musics, all glide by of synths, drones, robot voices, squelchy bass, machine drums and unmistakable superfast flicker of the strobe.

Deep Rave Memory

This is out today, new from Richard Fearless, an eight track album under his own name. If the title track is anything to go by it promises to be a techno- soul classic, 303s and whipcrack snares, melodic toplines, dark spiralling synths and kosmiche expansion. The title alone is a gift. Twelve minutes of twisting, laser light brilliance.

Days From Now

Daniel Avery’s ambient techno masterpiece album Song For Alpha from last year was joined this week by a sister album Song for Alpha 2 compiling B-sides from the various 12″ releases and fourteen remixes. The remixes by Jon Hopkins, Four Tet and Inga Mauer have already graced the pages of this blog- here’s another to join them from Death In Vegas head honcho Richard Fearless, an intense white light ride, nuanced acid techno. The whole package is available here.

 

Honey Effect

This is the new single from Death In Vegas, Honey, with the blissful vocals of Sasha Grey over throbbing, minimal, mind altering techno. ‘I would die… for you’ Sasha whispers.

Richard Fearless has more or less devoted his music making over the last few years to this sound, stripping it back and purifying it. In 2015 he put out this eight minute song, Overview Effect. It followed 2 singles form the year before, all in similar groove. When you’ve got a sound this good, why do anything other than refine it?

I don’t know why some get released as Richard Fearless and some as Death In Vegas, where Fearless ends and Vegas begins? Or the other way round…

Fearlessness

Richard Fearless at the controls with an hour long mix for i-D Magazine. Starts out percussive and African-influenced before heading into techno territory. Rather good if this kind of thing is your bag.

Bob Holroyd “African Drug”
Studio 1 “purple” on Studio 1
Mutabaruka “Dis Poem”
Mark Ernest’s meets BBC Version & Ngunyuta Dance by BBC
Rvds “Afrika”
Yak “Mido”
Ishio Dai “Island Dub”
Osbourne “Africa”
Lns & DJ Sotofett “Jugando Con Fuego” (Percussion Mix)
Dude Energy “Beat Desire”
Lns & DJ Sotofett “Jugando Con Fuego” (Sunrise mix)
Eon “Ramadance”
Richard Fearless “Sweet Venus”
Richard Fearless “Cancan”
Richard Fearless “Rex”

Without Fear

If you fancy an hour’s worth of highest quality machine music seamlessly mixed together by the hands of Richard Fearless then this Boiler Room upload should be right up your alley. Recorded back in 2013, it is a great set, some spacey dub techno, house and acid. Musically it’s hypnotic, sexy, and forward thinking stuff and all done on vinyl. Some of the dancing by the punters behind Richard is a little irksome at times but then I wouldn’t particularly want to watch back footage of myself cutting some rug either. Scott Fraser and Timothy J. Fairplay can be seen at various points- this was part of a Crimes Of The Future night. There’s a Soundcloud upload of the set here. No dancers to distract from your enjoyment of the tunes.

There is further good news for those of us who love Richard’s techno/house. He has a new single out in early December called Night Blind. If it’s as good as the Sweet Venus/Rex 12″ that came out earlier this year, it will be very good indeed.

Fearless

In June Richard Fearless put out a 12″ single with an A-side that I’ve been returning to ever since, a high quality piece of modern techno called Sweet Venus. The other side of the single was this, a thumping piece of acid techno, hypnotic and repetitive. The sort of track where attention to detail is utmost- lovely oscillating synths, crisp drums and the cymbals are a total joy in themselves. It just glides by.
Out recently on Fearless’ own imprint Drone is this from Von Haze (produced by Fearless). Solar Plexus is a ten minute exploration of drone and frequencies. It’s too insistent to be ambient. You’ll either love it or it’ll do your head in.

Sweet Venus

High quality sleek techno from Death In Vegas’ Richard Fearless, intense and repetitive. Starts off bleepy and with drones, then the rhythm hits. When they talk about machine music, this is the sort of thing they mean.

Metal Dub

Death In Vegas have a new album called Transmission out very soon. DiV mainman Richard Fearless has moved back towards the backroom techno/acid area in the last couple of years. 2014’s Gamma Ray single was an intense delight, 808s aloft. At the end of last year Fearless put out a song called Metal Dub which I think is going to be the opener on Transmission. It sounds like metal dub.

This remix by DJ Richard is a stripped back version with a kind of low key euphoria finishing with some lovely drones. Stunning.