Alex Celler - Polhammer

Label: Concealed Sounds - CCLD006
Format: Vinyl, 12", EP
Country: Denmark
Released: Jan 2015
Style: Tech House, Techno

Alexandros Berdos, Greek producer and DJ, which many of us know simply as Alex Celler has become an important figure in the underground electronic music scene since the late 2000s, signing his name on quite a few releases on many important labels such as Area Remote, Tuning Spork and Cecille among others.

Although he started out producing and releasing tech house anthems such as the well known "La Palma" and "Mok Da Mush" and a banger remix for Kornel Lemon's "La Leona", the past few years have seen him moving into much darker and experimental territory.

Such is the case with the "Polhammer" EP, Concealed Sounds sixth release. The A side starts off plunging full on into business. The rhythmical and precise theme that keeps sustaining the track locks in and, despite the overall darkness of the track, it manages to build up into quite the hip shaker. The weird transponder vocals and elongated bells, along with the chilling main pad give the track an eerie vibe but, strangely enough, it doesn't give you "the fear". It's actually quite pleasant, the vocals giving it an almost comical effect, even if you can hardly figure out what it is they're saying, if you can at all.
As far as percussion and drum programming goes, nothing too spectacular happens - it starts off with a basic 4/4 kick, a reverbed snare and somewhat swingy metallic hat that takes front center stage. A minute and a half in the shakers come knocking, and it becomes clear that you're listening to a sort of "dancing ghost house" tune. During the 3rd minute intermezzo a more wooden clap surfaces and the snares switch around for a bit, creating an interesting bit of tension up till the 7th minute, when everything calms down and starts sliding down, ultimately leaving room for further sound exploration from Alexandros, switching pads and layering more ghostly sounds as the track eases into place and slowly fades.

"Erinyes", the B side, is less housey and even more on the experimental side. Interestingly enough, Celler manages to grip the listener and make him move through the manipulation of kick, bass frequencies and some very simple but efficient percussion work on both sides, even though it could be considered a bit too experimental for some dance floors.

This quality is even more evident on the B side, mainly because the base rhythm is rounded off exceptionally well with futuristic industrial sounds, and what seem to be robotical voices, used not as background noise as is the case with "Polhammer", but as a major rhythmical element. The pads kind of give it a early Autreche feel, extremely dramatic and tense, sort of like a tribute to early 90's British electronica.

Celler's work has always been something to look forward to, he's always seemed to be in tune with the latest trends, releasing remixes and singles that hit the hammer on the nail at the time of their release and stick with you long after that, but this one seems different - it's unlike anything we've heard from him, except maybe his Glatter Redub of Italoboyz & Blind Minded's "Rainbow Bended", and it shows off his extremely versatile nature and willingness to go outside his comfort zone.