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Sniff and Destroy: 25 eye-bleeding techno rippers to turn any club inside out

It’s really nice that the popularity of stuff like Perc is reminding everyone how great it is to dance to techno that basically wants to stove your head in.

However, as I pointed out in an article this week, that’s not really news, and the reaction to that article has shown just how passionate people can be about music that’s belligerent, punishing and wilfully stoopid.

The fact is, for the best part of a quarter century, hard, mental techno has been a creative hotbed. For all that it frequently parades itself as mind-numbing pounding, either grimly relentless or presented with Beavis & Butthead-level humour, its crowd has always been smart and switched on, and it has always had healthy levels of warped melody, headfuck psychedelia, ghetto-house derived funk and proper body-trip rave heat.

So without further ado, here are 25 screeching, roaring, thudding, pummelling, eye-bleeding rippers designed to make you pull gargoyle faces and dance like a gibbon that’s gone on fire.

[And yes, we’ve tarted up the title. We’re sure everybody’ll live.]

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Underground Resistance
‘Punisher’
(1991)

Does what it says on the tin.

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Cybersonik
‘Machine Gun’
(1992)

When Hawtin was hardcore. Wouldn’t you just like to round up every primped-up scarf-knotter who thinks they’re something special because they own the whole M-nus catalogue and subject them to this on a ten-hour loop?

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Edge of Motion
‘Setup 707’
(1992)

So, so many acid tracks from this period that could’ve made it in – was a toss-up between this and Public Energy (aka Speedy J)’s ‘Three Oh Three’ really. Djax-Up-Beats was an astounding label for quite some while…

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Mescalinum United
‘We Have Arrived (Aphex Twin QQT Mix)’
(1992)

Caustic Window
‘Astroblaster’
(1993)

Gotta have some RDJ. Could’ve been any of a hundred tracks around this time, really, but these two capture the hilarious viciousness of his early productions.

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4D
‘Mindsafari’
(1993)

Two vital poles in the techno world joined here – Woody McBride aka DJ ESP, powerhouse of the US “midwest techno” sound of Drop Bass Network, releasing on Labworks which defined “Cologne acid” in a ridiculous run of releases (40 12”s in 1993 alone) that marked the cusp between techno and the nascent trance scene.

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Bald Terrror
‘Rotterdam’
(1993)

If you’re talking about brutal techno, there’s one city you can’t ignore. So here’s a cyborg skinhead football hooligan with a throat full of wire wool saying its name over and over again.

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Neil Landstrumm
‘Sniff  and Destroy’
(1996)

Glasgow gets all the glory as rave central these days, but Edinburgh was easily as important in the nineties – aside from Twitch & Brainstorm’s Pure club there were the likes of Dave Tarrida and Neil Landstrumm absolutely tonking out the ridiculous tunes… and indeed Landstrumm continues to do so to this day. Lovely discordant funk synths in this one.

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Dirty Dawg
‘Dirtbag’
(1996)

The fact that this is what Peacefrog used to put out, when they would go on to be the home of Jose Gonzalez and Nouvelle Vague is almost as much of a headfuck as this record itself.

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Jamie Lidell
‘Freely Freekin’
(1997)

Cristian Vogel
‘(Don’t) Take More’ (Jamie Lidell Remix)
(1997)

If you only know Lidell as a suave soul-man, get these down ya!

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Toktok
‘Jack Poke’
(1999)

This is what Berlin used to sound like! Hard to countenance that Bpitch Control, now full of drifting melancholia, started out unleashing beasts like this. Listen to the shuffle in that beat though, it might whack you with a hammer, but it does it with style and sophistication.

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Esther Ofei
‘Egoi’
(2001)

Contra to the stereotype, hard techno is no boys’ own club – it’s an unusually welcoming scene, you’ll generally find far more ladies in the dance than at either more mainstream techno events or more self-consciously avant-garde gigs, and there are plenty of female producers slinging out the tunes too. Not that that’s relevant to why this track is here: it’s here because it bangs.

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Michael Forshaw
‘Pounder’
(2001)

The Flying Lurinskys
‘The Luddites’
(2004)

Burly Blackpool care-worker by day, techno minotaur and the Hendrix of the Nintendo DS by night, Michael Forshaw is the living embodiment of the fuck-you spirit of the underground techno scene, as you might tell by track titles like the ‘My Burd’s So Hairy She Needs Chemo EP’. House music smartypantses might like to boggle at the fact that Dan, his partner in The Flying Lurinskys, now co-runs Dixon Avenue Basement Jams.

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Lory D
‘Untitled’
(2003)

Italian techno warrior Lory D has kept on keeping on for god knows how many years now, and his sets remain one of the best experiences to be had in a nightclub. Here’s ten minutes of gloriously unpleasant ambient abstraction and grating drum machines for that moment when you look around and realise that there are no real humans left in the rave.

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IBM
‘Blade Runner’
(2003)

IBM stands for “Insane Black Man”, is a collaboration between Chicago house heads Jamal Moss and Steve Poindexter, did an EP (‘My Life as a Skinny Puppy’) named after an old Canadian industrial act, and sounds like this.

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Hanno Hinkelbein
‘A New World Order at the New World Border’
(2003)

As well as being a Berlin industrial-metal bear and keystone at the legendary Dubplates & Mastering for ten years, Hanno Hinkelbein is also one of the finest techno producers in the world.

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Cut Out
‘We Need a Resurrection’
(2003)

Paul Gannaway makes stunning ambient as Southfacing and “misanthropic electro” as Dog Out, but it’s as Cut Out that he has consistently rocked grottier dancefloors over the years. This bangs as hard as its title.

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Knid vs. Funkatekk
‘Glank’
(2005)

Ummm… I made this. Well, I made a loop, Marcel Weiss aka Funkatekk turned into techno, then I roughed it up a bit. Came out on dayglo snot-green vinyl… well of course it did!

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The Horrorist
‘Body to Body’
(2007)

Keeping the creepy, pervy, sexbeat side of industrial techno alive, the Horrorist has always delighted in being fantastically wrong. But he’s not just some Nitzer Ebb / Front 242 revivalist – for all the eighties signifiers here, those drums are pure 4am sweatpit techno.

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Ben Pest
‘There’s a Party Inside my Mouth’
(2009)

Ben Pest is half of the brilliantly named The Black E with Cristian Vogel, and his live sets in the duo and solo both show a man with a distressingly erotic connection to his machines.

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Fedka The Irritant
‘A Study in Guilt Minor’
(2010)

Fedka The Irritant is in Pest with Ben Pest, plays trombone in techno clubs, and makes ridiculous bits of wonk like this with breakbeats, big bass and abusively trippy noises flying about.

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Subhead
‘That Track’
(2011)

A live jam by the collective that used to include Jamie Lidell, and still tears it up to this day. If you ever worry that this stuff might be music for beard-strokers, please a) note that this forms a double a-side with an artist called Boner M, and b) just listen to the fucker.

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Scott Robinson
‘Weird Beard’
(2012)

Straight outta Stuttgard via a Russian label, this is ugly techno still spitting gobbets of bad stuff at you, as adolescent and demented as it ever was.

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