These days, it seems standard practice for labels to dish out a remix package every time they drop what they feel is a major release, and 20/20 Vision have done just that for with DOKTA’s ‘Straight Lines’, which features on the album Metronomic. I find that remix releases are often intended to hype up an original record (it’s easy to be a cynic), so I gave it a listen to settle the score.
DOKTA is (another) anonymous producer from London working with shadowy samples and gritty sounds. As easy as it could be to label them, the illusive producer's sound largely stands out owing to his focus on using analog gear and live instrumentation (as seen from his weekly FB stream performing tracks on a setup reminiscent of a Sci-Fi B-movie control room).
This is clear from the title track — a proper builder with the pieces slotting in as you trot along. A stormy opening gradually dissipates through the power of chimes before the familiar brute tones of a Londoner provide the sort of satisfaction you get when you watch a Guy Ritchie flick (you know, the geezer ones). All this adds towards achieving a sense of euphoria, albeit not the ‘I fucking love you mate’ but rather something much closer to the ‘Yeah, actually life’s alright init’ kind. A pleasant journey this one. Got time for it.
Kerouac’s mix of ‘Straight Lines’ sticks to the sonic attitude found in the OG, going for the steady, rising journey towards the sun (makes sense based upon his assumed namesake). A sincere element of trance exists within, complete with the self-gratifying build and drop. In ‘Straight Lines’, the vibe creates give a nice gooey feeling, and I imagine it would reach its peak when heard in the ocean, but as I sit in a bedroom in Rotherhithe, I’ll have to accept the experience I’ve had.
Dehnert and O’Donnell clearly aren’t seeking any euphoria or life-affirming fluff with their mixes. Dehnert’s is all muffled menace and chopped vocal samples, swirling, tripped out textures and the consistent propulsion of a fat, gritty kick. Calculated hats hit your noggin around and the familiar tones of industrial bleeps and bops keep the edge. It sounds well Berlin basically (Dehnert’s home), with a slight veneer of sweat ‘n’ sleeze, but never without a touch of evil. Good bit this.
O’Donnell’s is a proper propulsive affair and a bit of a weapon to boot. Like the Dehnert mix, it operates separately from the OG in being a fresh composition inspired solely by the underlying grit of ‘Straight Lines’. Clearly crafted for the dancefloor, the kick has many a subby step backed up by a menacing bass groove that’s generally quite hard to stay still to. This track is what one could describe as naughty.
The real highlight on the EP though is Classical Mechanic’s mix, who can be found providing (often) macabre sounds on his Netil radio show, which is always a certified trip. This remix is no different and is rather delightful if not so macabre. Sonically speaking, it has an affinity with the original and makes the whole remix project worth it alone. Truly uplifting melancholia, like the sounds of a circuit-board breaking whilst you try to type a final ‘I love you’ to someone far away. If robots could cry, then I’m sure this is what it would sound like. A proper touching piece this one — don’t resist its feels.
This review began with a cynical tone (as all music writers love to own); however, this remix EP has not only proven itself worthwhile but also fulfilling. With Kerouac’s trancy mix, some dirty dancefloor sleezers via Dehnert and O’Donnell and a magical composition from Classical Mechanics, with this one, DOKTA (whoever he is) should be pleased with himself.
Here’s a playlist of DOKTA’s live jams: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuZLn4T9-Po_0_bYoShaBrSgLdLxZsk7G