Joey Beltram – Energy Flash (1990)

With this track, Joey Beltram managed to help separate the house and techno movements into their own unique pathways by creating a darker, more minimal beat that could not be described with the term house. Often described as ground-breaking after release on Transmat records, it opened up the opportunity for darker sounding techno music to enter the scene.

The unstoppable machine-like drums do not relent, accompanied by a wobbly bass sound that gives the song a very mobile and flexible sound to the release. On top of these sits tweaking synth noises that not only compliment the drums and bass to perfection, but push the track further and further as it goes on.

These alternating and ever-changing synths keep the attention while subtly in the background almost, hi-hats are introduced, filling any gaps that may be lurking beneath the other sounds featured. An unusual choice of the sound of a cymbal is used, occasionally joining the synths, adding a great sound contrasting against the rest of the song so far.

At one point the cymbal stops, and makes room for a hypnotising string sample which elevates the song to another level briefly, before cutting off to make way for the vocals in the song. The single echoing word, ecstasy, spoken by a deep, commanding voice joins the song. The choice of the word ecstasy is obviously in reference to the illegal drug as well as the feeling you get to listening to excellent electronic songs like this one. All attention is immediately on this voice, and it takes you further into the song and into the world of Joey Beltram and before you even realise that the drums have stopped the breakdown is over and they come back, stronger than ever.

The song twists and turns as it plays out the 5:51 runtime, drawing you in, dropping the synths, picking them pack up again, alternating. The cymbal returns while the hi-hats constantly join and leave the track, leaving you in a constant state of trance as the dark sound of the record leaves an eerie taste in your mouth.

The fact that this record came out as early as it did, while remaining as fresh sounding as it still does to this day is a true credit to the creator of the track. A tune that changed the direction of techno for the better, darker, grittier, and more hypnotic.

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