Dutch techno legends Speedy J and Steve ‘Sterac’ Rachmad have joined forces for the first time to explore live, improvised techno.
As two of the most prominent figures in the Netherlands scene, it’s surprising to learn Jochem Paap and Steve Rachmad only truly connected during the pandemic. Paap set up the Stay At Home Soundsystem project from his Rotterdam studio complex STOOR, and invited Rachmad to take part in a live, improvised jam to be broadcast to viewers stuck at home missing their fix of boss-level techno. Rachmad obliged, and informed Paap two days before that he’d never performed live before.
Of course Rachmad’s 30-plus years of experience meant he was more than comfortable picking some choice tools and following his instincts jamming with Paap, and this set in motion more collaborative sessions with a view to taking the Speedy & Steve project to clubs and festivals. In the spirit of improvisation, the pair don’t allocate specific roles when they play, even if you can clearly hear Rachmad’s signature chords, pads and arps moving around Paap’s sharp instincts for rhythm and texture. The possibilities are permanently open, and the mood can range from pumping, peak-time, big room energy to moody, melodic reflection. The range of Speedy & Steve can be felt on two releases, the first of which announces the project. Drawn from recordings of sessions at STOOR, this EP is a lathe-cut 12” pressed and released through Paap’s in-house STOOR label.
On this limited edition release you can hear the outer reaches Speedy & Steve reach on their improvised travels, taking in house, hi-tech jazz and other hard to define, freaky machine music. The second release will arrive this winter on Mote Evolver – a collection of dynamic, forward-thrusting techno tracks ranging from trippy and uplifting to knotty, head-twisting workouts, hand-picked by label boss Luke Slater himself. There’s no question of the quality threshold involved when two such seasoned pros knock heads and patch their gear together. No one knows how a performance will play out before the lights go down and the patterns start, and that’s where the excitement lies for those in the crowd and the ones at the controls alike.