It's been a while since we heard any new material from New York resident Contakt. While, as one of the DJs behind Brooklyn's monthly TURRBOTAX® parties, he's hardly been inactive in recent times, one has to look all the way back to his excellent debut EP for London's Local Action in early 2011 to find his last substantial release of fully original music. Fortunately, the traits that were so impressive on that last release—specifically, his stellar ability to blend classic Detroit techno and contemporary UK influences—are still intact and on display here. (In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Contakt works with XLR8R and the Icee Hot imprint is headed up in part by our editor Shawn Reynaldo.)
"Nobody Else" itself is a track rooted in soulful deep house, albeit one which builds into something altogether harder and more driving than its relatively restrained opening phrases might lead the listener to believe. Opening with a fairly straightforward, hat-driven groove and a classic piano-house riff, Contakt quickly introduces a shifting vocal loop and a meaty techno synth line, both of which just build and build. As the track reaches its climax, it crescendos into an altogether weightier, rave-ready entity that sounds like it's rooted in a heartfelt appreciation of classic Underground Resistance records. B-side cut "Tessera 04," meanwhile, has a brilliantly deep, late-night feeling to it; there's a relentless wash of quick-fire hats, evolving percussion, and a seemingly endless filtered synth line. It's the sort of track that seems perfect for injecting energy into early-hours warehouse crowds on the verge of being lost into the techno abyss.
These vintage techno touchstones in Contakt's music are, it seems, more than just incidental; impressively for a producer with just two full EPs to his name, both of his solo releases have featured proper techno royalty on remix duties. While his debut, "Not Forgotten," featured a b-side contribution from Underground Resistance's Rolando, here Detroit icon and fellow UR alumnus Robert Hood provides a reworking of "Tessera 04." Hood's remix is as nostalgic and likeable as one would expect; he flips the beat into a classic drum-machine workout and dramatically ups the bounciness with layers of analog synths. He's joined on the b-side by Icee Hot regular Ghosts On Tape, whose remix turns "Nobody Else" into an energetic party tune full of huge drum hits and propulsive rhythms. It continues his recent run of form, and impressively manages to not get dwarfed by Hood's presence.