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Into the Unknown: Omar S

Omar S – 'Here’s your trance now dance'

We’re here again and it’s another song of the month on dance music. I’m guessing about half have been that way over the last year, it’s not something I would have envisaged when I started writing, but it’s testament to the quality of the scene that it continually proves its worth. I figured this column would mostly consist of rough edged Lo-Fi and reverb heavy guitar music. It hasn’t and it seems rhythm is king.

So it’s a joy to feature a modern pioneer to keep the ears keen and the heads bopping, we welcome the mighty Omar S. Omar is a man from the home of techno: Detroit, Michigan, and the city has no doubt weighted his hand.

a big crushed clap and a single cheeky bass note

The track begins with the unavoidable – and rightly so – techno hi hat soon coupled with a pitched up machine bongo and solid 4/4 kick drum, his stall is set but it’s the oncoming track that’s the bit to get excited about, a low and slow subtle flutter builds into the track, taking its time at first, you ask yourself if it’s the song or something more reality-based. It’s joined by the running mates of a big crushed clap and a single cheeky bass note revealing part of the future of the track.

It all moves at a reassuring pace, never wallowing in the now. And then it comes, and you realise why you’re listening, it’s a big trance drop. Yes, a big trance drop in a techno track, a 2am moment where nothing else matters, it’s not the white clad, limp handshake Tiesto trance but a string masterstroke of many layers, blissfully calling and responding to each other while we’re just happy to be privy to it.

The track has more than a few nods to trance but it’s locked deep inside the Techno gates and it won’t be coming out. It joyfully repeats and you hope it never stops, scattered synths flutter, backed up with rhythmic, harmonic keyboard chirps.

what sounds like a steel worker grinding through a I-bar

Then the surprise of the piece – of which there are few in Techno admittedly – and it’s what sounds like a steel worker grinding through a I-bar. It’s used cannily for the drop down, many sounds and pads get used for this part of any dance track, but rarely the weapon of choice for a tradesman on an oil rig. Nevertheless, it sits comfortably within the Detroit sound and machine-like techno fold.

An LFO grind moves the track on from 5 minutes and the varied Hi-Hats dance and fight for room within the tight rhythmic constraints of the tune. The reason this is a special cut is the melody; every time it returns it’s just hair-standing bliss and you hope it hangs around for a long time. There’s some slightly out of time drops that are somewhat reminiscent of the classic Chicago house track: Your Love by Jamie Principle (Frankie Knuckles) that add a human touch.

smacks of intelligence and confidence, but is it overconfidence? An arrogance?

At over 10 minutes in length it’s quite a statement piece. Omar S is someone who smacks of intelligence and confidence, but is it overconfidence? An arrogance? His Fabric CD contained only his own music, which has to be a first, His album title It can be done but only I can do it (from which this track is taken) feels again like it’s from a very comfortable person; he only releases his music on vinyl (on his own label FXHE) which you can’t get hold of easily at all.

The 12’’ vinyl seems to sell out before it even comes out, which only adds to the mystical notoriety of the man. With someone releasing so much good music and maintaining the legacy of techno, who cares if it comes with a little arrogance?

'Here’s your Trance Now Dance' is taken from the album It can be done but only I can do it on FXHE, and it’s out now.


Liam runs the small but potentially revolutionary radio station Different Class Radio, he just needs that one idea.

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