John Heckle // Return To Titan
(Intrinsic Rhythm)

Liverpool’s leading techno machine wrangler and panel beater drops the first record under his own name in some time.

In recent years John Heckle has been primarily focused on his Head Front Panel alias, parking his earlier established melodic jackers par excellence in favour of a harder, more industrial sound. In both modes, Heckle has always displayed uncanny flair – someone who truly sings through his machines – and five years on from the last releases under his own name, he returns to the more playful, synth-charged aspect of his output in a dazzling display for Tr One’s Intrinsic Rhythm. 

While he might sport a slightly more approachable style away from Head Front Panel, Heckle is still boisterous as hell on this record. ‘A’ bucks and brays with hard-swung drums caked in noise, and the lead lines peal out with an urgency bordering on hysterical, not to mention joyous. There’s always a sense of early Detroit techno’s balance of machine soul and slamming intensity in his work, made by one who innately understands how to keep the music funky as hell, no matter how hard or anthemic you push it. 

From the slower stomp of ‘7C’ to the drum-less baroque epic ‘CII’, the sheer invention and power of Heckle’s expression is nothing short of astounding. It makes so much other modern techno seem tepid and uninspiring in comparison. It’s only fitting, then, that a Motor City legend like John Beltran is dialled up for a remix, and he turns ‘A’ into a sizzling, sky-scraping beauty that makes for a tasteful, if slightly less thrilling, alternative vision of Heckle’s own tune.