Posthuman’s 10 True Underground Acid Tracks
Some of the best acid labels and artists you’ve likely never heard of, as chosen by Posthuman.
Acid is my passion. I’ve been running an acid house night for 13 years, and a label dedicated to the sound of the 303 for half that. The hundreds of artists that have crossed my path in that time have never stopped amazing me. Despite their different approaches and sounds, all are anchored to that one thing: the Roland TB-303. As Luke Vibert said: “I Love Acid, it’s the sound you can’t improve.”
There are so many things you can do with that magic little silver box, and its instantly recognizable squelch can be heard far beyond the classic ‘80s Chicago house sound, through to electro, techno, pop, ambient, disco, and trance.
Here, I’ve dug into some of my favourite off-the-beaten-path tracks, looking at lesser-known labels and artists who truly represent the underground over the last three decades.
DJ ESP aka Woody McBride – Slow Mo
One of the most important acid producers of the 1990s, Woody McBride is a bit of an unsung legend. Based in Minneapolis, USA, he was friends with Freddy Fresh, and famously booked Daft Punk to come and play in America for the first time, way back in ‘96 when hardly anyone had heard of them. This one was originally out on Definitive Records in ‘95, but was recently re-released digitally as part of the Communiqué retrospective series.
Seri – Lost Technologies #1 (Mitaka Sound Remix)
Prolific Japanese producer Seri has a huge catalogue of hardware acid jams to his name spanning the last decade, mostly out on his own imprint, AcidWorx. Here, the first of his “Lost Technologies” series gets a lush treatment from labelmates Mitaka Sound. AcidWorx recently seems to have moved on from a solely Japanese label and now also runs out of Australia, with a huge and diverse roster of underground artists.
Syntheme – Red
There was a huge mystery behind the identity of Syntheme. Coming out of nowhere back in 2007, there were just four 12” and an album before the project vanished in 2009. The tracks were released anonymously on Planet Mu – it was rumoured that Mike Paradinas wasn’t even aware at first who had written the tracks. All press photos and live shows were performed by Louise Wood, but it turned out it was Global Goon behind the music.
Marshall Applewhite feat. Kilo Kish – TV Jack
Old-skool rave meets acid, produced by a Detroit resident named after the notorious leader of UFO suicide cult Heaven’s Gate. What more can you ask for, really? All shrouded in façade on façade, This came out on Yo Sucka!, a sub-label of Juke Trax, itself a sub-label of Databass and Twilight 76, famous for putting out most of DJ Godfather’s material – so we are talking serious music family credentials here. This track absolutely bangs.
Dez Williams – Steakout
UK producer Dez Williams, hailing from Holyhead Island in the rain-soaked Irish sea off the coast of North Wales, has a huge catalogue of works spanning electro to techno. His debut longplayer Elektronik Religion back in 2003 on SCSI is one of the most respected UK electro albums of all time. This tracks sees him in full on angry Tekno mode on French label Acid Avengers — every one of their releases has just about the best artwork you’ve ever seen.
Cardopusher – Mouthwash Acid
Venezualan Cardopusher, now based in Barcelona, took a long route to where he is now. Starting off as part of the breakcore/drill-n-bass scene with releases on the likes of Tigerbeat6, his sound evolved over the years and he found himself as part of the first wave of dubstep on Hyperdub records before moving into the acid and EBM territory he’s now known for. This is a proper slow and heavy acid chugger, out on the Classicworks label he runs with Nehuen.
Lauren Flax – (You Have To) Work
Detroit-born, Brooklyn NYC-based Lauren Flax has two decades of production, gigging and writing experience behind her, penning tracks for the likes of Sia, and as half of the duo Creep. But Flax really comes into her own as a DJ and producer of proper jacking acid house. She can most often be found behind (three or more) turntables across the US and Europe, or in the studio remixing or jamming hardware with one of her countless collaborations with other artists. This is taken from her solo EP on Bunker Records — it’s all killer, no filler.
Rebecca Goldberg – Neighborhood (Michigan Avenue Acid)
Taken from her debut EP 313 Acid Queen on Kero’s Detroit Underground imprint, four tracks of lush and spacious acid techno. Like Flax, Rebecca is another Detroit-born specialist of the Roland TB303. She’s released two follow-ups since this, and runs her own night in Detroit called Sound Space.
DyLab – It’s Turning Me On
Dylab is the production moniker of hardware fanatic Dylan Davis. His output spans dozens of underground labels, and genres ranging from ambient to breaks to techno to electro — but nearly always with a TB-303 in the mix (or one of his many other acid boxes – RE-303, TT-303, Xox etc.). He also looks after the international TB-303 pattern group and runs Acid Slice, a club night dedicated to the 303 in his home city of Melbourne, Australia.
Hard Ton – Work That Body
With Italian duo Mauro & Massimo, Mauro produces the music, and Massimo is the larger-than-life frontman and vocalist. They are the perfect mix of ultra-glamorous-queer-energy meets jacking house and disco. The video from this track is amazing, through criminally ignored: Massimo in full sequin and glitter burqa leading a men’s gym class. Released on Berlin imprint Killekill’s sub-label, House Trax.
Posthuman returns with I Love Acid at the Pickle Factory on January 17th. More info here.