INPUT | Marek Hemmann/ Abstraxion/ Nikola Baytala

Throughout the latter half of the 2000s and the early 2010s, Marek Hemmann wasn't close to being the most prolific producer of Germanic, minimal-leaning techno, but he was among the most consistent. His first 12" releases came out on Milnor Modern and Raum…Musik. After 2008, the majority of his tracks were issued on Jena native Robag Wruhme's Freude-Am-Tanzen label, where he also collaborated with Matthias Kaden as Hemmann & Kaden. Hemmann's first album was In Between, issued in 2009. Two years later, he released another Freude-Am-Tanzen album as Marian (a partnership with Fabian Reichelt), Only Our Hearts to Lose. He has remixed dozens of tracks, several of which were produced by contemporaries such as Anja Schneider, Douglas Greed, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Sweet N' Candy, and Someone Else.

Harold Boué aka Abstraxion is a 29 years old French producer, based in London and Marseille. He just released on HAKT Recordings, Biologic records and Nicolas Jaar's label Other People his stunning debut LP Break of Lights. If critics are merely a tough crowd, dance music producers rank tougher still, Abstraxion's innovating music has already garnered accolades (and spins) from both – including heavy hitters such as Erol Alkan, Simian Mobile Disco, James Holden and Dan Snaith (Caribou/Daphni). He will release at the end of this year his new EP I Can't on HAKT.

Nikola Baytala

DJ Nikola Baytala has become a crucial component of the minimal-techno collective known as Kontrol. But don't typecast him as a one-dimensional droid with a M-nus Records logo tattoo. He's been exploring the upper echelons of the techno/house continuum since the early '90s (including the last 10 years at The Top, a weekly event hosted by S.W.A.T., aka Special Weapons and Tactics), gaining a reputation as a DJ's DJ, with acclaim coming from house-music legends like Derrick Carter and Doc Martin. Moreover, Baytala's list of musical influences and loves is vast, eclectic, and impeccable. The following roll call just scratches the surface: dub/reggae (Lee "Scratch" Perry), jazz (Pharoah Sanders), world (Ravi Shankar, Mulatu Astatke), funk (Cymande), soul (Bill Withers), hiphop (Gang Starr), Krautrock (Can), electro (Egyptian Lover, Kraftwerk), disco (DJ Harvey), Latin (Tito Puente), soundtrack/new age (Vangelis), rock (Steely Dan), post-punk (ESG, Liquid Liquid), and post-rock (Outhud). As for his bread and butter, Baytala similarly displays excellent judgment, with a heavy preference for quality-pushers like Jeff Mills, Gas, Monolake, Robert Hood, Theo Parrish, and Mr. Fingers. When you see a DJ possess such wide-ranging, outstanding taste, it instills confidence that he/she will rarely, if ever, veer into wackness. Baytala clearly has put many hours of study into his craft, and it's paid off with smooth mixes and world-class track selection. Besides his formidable technical skills and profound knowledge, Baytala reportedly exudes a lot of personality and passion behind the decks, which must have served him well while opening for acts like Jane's Addiction. Everything I've heard by Baytala suggests that his sets avoid the supposed pitfalls of minimal dance music. They're kinetic, dynamic, and, of course, cheese-free. I can't believe I've only just recently found out about this mensch.

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