Most producers take a few years to mature, but ever since he first set eardrums thrumming with his debut ‘Random As’ 12″ in 2002, Alex Smoke – real name Alex Menzies – has been releasing work far more visceral and sophisticated than that of people twice his age. His sound is rooted in sinewy experimental techno, and can be heard in full on effect on devastating dancefloor 12″s for Vakant and Soma, as well as the more expansive, nuanced LPs Incommunicado and Paradolia, and of course his club-quaking live sets as well.
Having long harboured an interest in minimalism and modern classical composition, Menzies got the opportunity to remix Steve Reich in 2006, acquitting himself beautifully, and more recently has been working with the renowned Scottish Ensemble on a piece called Kinesis. This month sees the release of Lux, his third studio album, and his boldest offering yet. Though techno is still very much in its blood, Lux is a more structurally odd and exploratory record than its predecessors, disorientingly sensuous and totally unpredictable.
You can get some idea of what to expect of Lux from ‘Ikos’, which Menzies opens his FACT mix with. After a reflective start, it doesn’t take long for our man to reach a gallop, dropping fresh meat from Claro Intelecto, Levon Vincent, MMM (the ubiquitous ‘Nous Sommes MMM’) and Lory D, and trusty steppers from the likes of Floating Points and Zomby. Shackleton, Brinkmann, Steve Pointdexter, Actress and Autechre also feature in what is, quite frankly, a heavy, heavy selection. Read More...
Alex Smoke – Ikos (Hum+Haw)
Autechre – R Ess (Warp)
Zomby – Test Me For A Reason (Hyperdub)
Shackleton – (No More) Negative Thoughts (Perlon)
EPY – Hannah (Pomelo)
The Seducers – Unavoidable Infiltrators (Cytown)
Deadbeat/Fenin – Teach The Devil’s Son (Echochord Colour)
Levon Vincent – Double Jointed Sex Freak Pt 2 (Novel)
Claro Intelecto – New Life (Modern Love)
Brinkmann – Lucky Hands (Max Ernst)
Steve Poindexter – Maniac (Area’s Lost Meaning Version) (Mathematics)
Fever Ray – Seven (Marcel Dettmann Remix) (Rabid)
Lory D – Street Vision (Rephlex)
MMM – Nous Sommes (MMM)
Actress – Paint, Straw And Bubbles (Zomby Remix) (Honest Jons)
Floating Points – K&G Beat (Planet Mu)
Download: FACT mix 139 – Alex Smoke
(Available for three weeks)