The last time Canadian underground techno tastemaker Rennie Foster had a record on a French label it was the historic F-Communications. Back then Rennie’s penchant for bringing warehouse nostalgia together with hi-tech futurism was a consistent theme and in 2023 this fusion based musical concept is realized further toward the future through a new EP release, Cryptic Layers on Parisian imprint Skylax Records.
The record opens with Let It Go, a simple title for a complex and dreamy piece of lo-fi rave house featuring clattering breaks, ear worm vocals and a drastic bassline driving the whole custom vehicle. Then the similarly, simply titled Just Do It explodes into action with an inspired mix of Detroit inspired dub techno chords, fierce amen breaks and a hip-house energy akin to both current urban style and authentic musical roots. These tracks sound like they could have been released at any time during the past decades but still sound current, or even futuristic. Apparent is craft, design and an understanding of dance music from the perspective of obsession, experience and passion.
The remixes come from absolute legends in the world of techno, representing Rennie’s other home-base territories, the techno cities Detroit and Tokyo. Japanese electronic music icon Ken Ishii provides a storming acid remix of Just Do It with liquid 303 bass, anxious and trip vocal snips, and punchy drums that will sound absolutely ace in a club. Detroit third wave pioneer Sean Deason closes out the record with a crisp dose of hi-tech funk that is sure to be a DJ weapon with it’s hypnotic energy and timeless production style.
The digital only portion of Cryptic Layers begins with a second version from Ken Ishii, this time sans vocals leaving the acid stripped down and bare. Two more original tracks by Rennie Foster are also on offer. Sadlands is an organ laden deep house, synth-wave, contrasting piece of melancholic dream dance while I Say Peace signs off the project in a layered classic house style with early rave stabs and grooving after-hours appeal.