Tel Aviv’s Deep’a & Biri (Yaron Amor and Itai Biri) are arguably Israel’s most dedicated techno heads. As resident DJs and bookers at Barzilay Club, over years they’ve provided a diet of underground beats for the city’s serious club goers, bringing over Detroit and Berlin’s biggest hitters, from Robert Hood to Rødhåd. In parallel, they’ve developed an individual production sound, steeped in electronic traditions but with distinctive features of its own.
Since they began releasing tracks in 2009, Deep’a & Biri’s music has appeared on Derrick May’s Transmat label and DJ Hell’s Gigolo Records, as well as on their own label Black Crow. Now based in Berlin, an influence of the German capital is never far on their second album, Dominance, though the moodier techno elements are often tempered with more melodic qualities. “False Memories” is a hypnotic helix of interwoven arpeggios and warm pads, with a stepping beat and a masterful sense of restraint. “Flow Diverter” is typical of their current style, with its heavy linear kicks, hats, and astral bell melodies, gradually overshadowed by a darker electronic drone.
Unlike their 2016 track “Echoic Memories, a dancefloor dub techno cut with more than a nod to Basic Channel, Dominance is for the most part designed for atmosphere rather than club play. Nevertheless, “École de Nancy," soaked in delay and skittering rhythms, is a relentless rumble of kicks, toms, and reverberant metallic hits heard best in cavernous spaces through giant sound systems.
Dub techno is a recurring trope that crops up several times on Dominance. The opening track “Theories of Loneliness” is an ambient piece where aquatic melodies swim through echo deck rhythms and submerged pads, not a million miles from the work of Deepchord. “Voltage” hisses and whispers with ricocheting, barely-there synth notes over a mechanical techno beat, and “Alpha Cephei”, with its ascending, fluttering keys, has the dubwise, psychedelic feel of one of Sabres of Paradise’s early ’90s numbers.
On the whole, Deep’a & Biri’s sound on Dominance is similar to that of their 2013 debut album, Emotions, Visions, Changes, showing their predilection for certain sounds. Still, their new record has a more spacious character. “Avicenna” is as dark as they get, where an abstract, tense loop looms over typically hard drums and a kinetic ride cymbal. “Alkalinity” is similarly brooding, with acidic notes bumping over almost-electro beats.
But some of the best moments of the record are its most ambient. “Astral Trails” takes early ’90s IDM as a reference point, with an evocative bassline, spooky pads, and skittering percussion helping to weave its spell. Deep’a & Biri are particularly good at this kind of abstract electronic music, and it’s a shame there’s not more of it on Dominance. Nevertheless, fans of dub techno will find plenty of oceanic textures to swim in here.
A1. Theories Of Loneliness
A3. Alpha Cephei
C1. École de Nancy
C2. Flow Diverter
D1. False Memories
D2. Seeking Solace
D3. Astral Trails
Dominance LP is out now via Black Crow Records.