Oliver Huntemann, with a career spanning almost three decades is an artist that needs little introduction.
As a producer, DJ, label boss, artist manager, promoter and general party starter, there’s not much left in the scene Oliver Huntemann hasn’t done. An unstoppable musical force, he continues to reinvent and drive his sound forward with boundless creativity and unwavering quality. Lucky for us he is showing no sign of slowing down with his new album Propaganda that’s released this week.
I first caught up with Oliver Huntemann for a quick chat back in 2014 (read here) when Senso Sounds was in its infancy. As a long-time admirer of his work, I was interested in the direction his new imprint was set to take and what was inspiring him creatively in an ever-evolving scene. Not one to mince words, his response illustrated determination and a clear vision for what was to come;
Techno brings a pretty broad range of sounds with it and changes with the time and spirit. Techno is a feeling. Looking at it that way, I always focus on releasing quality Techno or finest underground dance music. My vision of Senso Sounds is to bring the music and the artists closer together, even more than with my previous labels. It would be great creating a special Senso sound and I think with the upcoming stuff we‘re on a good way – Oliver Huntemann.
Four years on it would be fair to say that Huntemann is well on his way to achieving his goal. The distinctly staunch Senso sound cultivated for the successful label has included huge releases from Oliver Huntemann himself alongside artists like Victor Ruiz, Hatzler, Andre Winter, Dubfire and Julian Jeweil. Whilst generally landing squarely in the techno realm, the genre bending catalogue of forward-thinking music has found its way to packed dance floors across the globe, from the darkest of warehouses to the biggest stages on the festival circuit.
With his new album Propaganda, his fifth studio album and first full length on his Senso Sounds label, Oliver Huntemann goes straight for the jugular as he delivers a solid collection of dance floor friendly monsters with a few curveballs along the way. Capturing the essence of what defines the greatness of his label’s output to date, this album reflects a mature techno sound that will both electrify dance floors and tantalise the tastes of serious audiophiles.
Propaganda’s lead single Rotlicht was released as an EP back in July, giving the listener a hint as to what was to follow. In Rotlicht, the peak time brooding techno track featured a Grindhouse-esque swirling siren and a devastating drop. The first taster from the new album, the EP was followed by the recently released Poltergeist featuring a Maksim Dark remix. In Poltergeist, Oliver Huntemann offers a deeper, mechanical, slow burner that builds and builds, drawing the listener in and whetting their appetite.
When diving head first into the album, the listener is presented with a collection of tracks that shine a light on some of the best periods of techno’s past whilst offering a distinctly Oliver Huntemann and Senso Sounds touch. There are numerous nods to Oliver Huntemann’s minimal past with dance floor friendly tracks like Manipulation and Doppelgänger both inducing a sense of satisfied nostalgia. Others like Absurd and Poltergeist have a more sinister undertone with hefty raw analogue techno sounds and growling basslines that pack a punch that’ll appeal to late night punters or big stages. Egoist and Kamikaze will both do plenty of damage.
Amongst the techno monsters, Oliver Huntemann drops in a number of gems that will pique the interests of even the most seasoned listener. Anonym is a downtempo beatless trip that paints an enthralling soundscape, again illustrating the quality and maturity of Oliver Huntemann’s productions. Momentum evolves from a bleak introduction that opens into an enthralling melancholy soundscape over a delicate dub beat. Vertigo, one of my picks of the bunch, hints at electro flavours from days gone by with ethereal swirling sounds and a melancholy vibe.
Rounding out the album are tracks like Trick 17, a deep driving minimal tune which is beautifully crafted. Der Schwarze Kanal, one of three bonus tracks has a bouncing bassline, sweeping ethereal strings with a melody that dances across a minimal beat. Malaria starts with a deep driving beat accompanied by spacey sounds and an acid house feel that builds and drops with devastating effect. Egotrippin (another bonus track) is one of my picks of the bunch, a tune that brilliantly walks the fine line between delicate melody and raw power.
Propaganda shows the depth of Oliver Huntemann’s talent, the complexity of his sound design and his deep understanding of the music itself, drawing on the flavours of old and transforming them to a modern representation of all that is good about techno. There’s a lot to love on here and something for everyone. There were several tracks I was drawn back to over and over when listening through headphones, whilst others shone when turned up loud through the bass heavy sound system. Senso Sounds has developed into a go-to label for techno enthusiasts across the globe and with Oliver Huntemann at the helm, it’s pretty clear why. This is a brilliant album crafted by an exceptionally talented producer who continues to deliver the goods with each and every release.
Reviewer: Simon Murphy
Buy Propaganda here