Played Out: Louisahhh And Maelstrom Go Full-Throttle Techno

Louisahhh and Maelstrom
The people behind the RAAR label give step-by-step breakdowns of how they whip a warehouse into a frenzy with boundary-pushing techno smashers.

PLACE : An abandoned warehouse filled with roaring freaks, weirdos and maybe some big dogs.
TIME : 
Two hours before sunrise.

1. Louisahhh: Maelstrom & Louisahhh, “Listen (Be Patient)” (RAAR 2015)

I like to “reset” a crowd by making sure the first or second track is an original. As I’m primarily a vocalist, I feel it sets up a direct line of communication between me and the audience. If we are going to begin playing peak time about two hours before sunrise, “Listen” would act as an opening challenge. It starts out very quietly and grows into a monster, and softness is actually a really powerful tool in a DJ set. Make the whole body strain to hear you before pummeling it with noise.

*Insert hi-hats of “Roadblox” with off-beat fader cuts after second breakdown on “Listen”*
*EQ low end out of “Listen” and bring the bass on “Roadblox” in*
*Fade out “Listen” after 4:20*

2.2. Maelstrom: The Prodigy, “Roadblox (Paula Temple Remix)” (R&S 2015)

This track is a proper thrasher and takes the energy from the seething, barely contained roar of “Listen” into something at once more focused and aggressive. The goal is to push the crowd into a place that’s uncomfortable and then turn it up: ravey edge play. We’ve probably played this track at every single RAAR night since last year. I love how Paula Temple takes it into truly terrifying territories while never losing the intensity. I can recall a few times where the crowd seemed to get a little scared for their physical integrity and safety during the breakdown around 3:40.

*Loop “Roadblox” for 16 bars at 4:45*
*Mix in the next rack with low end EQ peeled back*
*Bring down low EQ on “Roadblox” and bring up low end EQ on “Barcode Population”*
*Put reverb up at 69 percent on “Roadblox”, use the low-cut filter to make it howl, and fade it out but keep reverb up until the clap-snare hits come in on the next track.*
*Point urgently at the breakdown at 3:27 on “Barcode Population” so Mael doesn’t mix out until after it.*

3. Louisahhh: Barcode Population, “Barcode Population” (Trip 2015)

“Roadblox” picks up again after the breakdown (20 seconds of raucously howling machines, sans kickdrum), at which point I bring in “Barcode Population”. I start 16 seconds in because the intro is a weird pitched-down voice without a beat (unmixable), and I change the tempo from its native 137 near-gabber pace to a more manageable 130 BPM. I’ve been playing this track in most of my sets since June; it’s ferocious and percussive and intense, and the clap-snare that comes in at 1:50 changes the groove from the thrashing Paula Temple remix to a stiffer EBM chug. This says in no uncertain terms: we mean business. “Barcode Population” is a little emptier and less hectic than the previous two. The strategy here would be to ground the audience while continuing to push, and everybody hunkers down and sticks to the road.

*Mix in the next track with the low and high EQ peeled back at around 4:30 on “Barcode Population”*
*Use the HP Filter on “Barcode Population”*
*Bring up the bass and highs of the incoming track during the breakdown at 1:50*
*Fade out “Barcode Population” by bringing down mid and then high EQs*

4. Maelstrom: Terence Fixmer, “Aktion Mekanik Theme (Kobosil 44 Version)” (Ostgut Ton 2015)

This is one is the perfect warehouse rave track for the 2010s, as it’s huge and anthemic, but the Kobosil version has an introspective quality that makes it perhaps even more interesting than the original Fixmer track. I would use the midrange to mix it in, as there’s not much melodic content on “Barcode Population”, and it would fit perfectly while making the atmosphere a little less physical and bring some melodic tension into the set. And because “Barcode Population” got the crowd more grounded, the melodic elements of “Aktion Mekanik Theme” feel more urgent and emotional without being bombastic. This brings the energy up again, but no hands into the air…yet.

*At 4:41, use the low-pass filter on “Aktion Mekanik Theme”. Keep the bass up, but make it throb along*
*Bring the bass down entirely and bring in the next track*
*Bring up the bass around 1:32 on the incoming track, then cut bass on Kobosil’s remix, adjust the low pass filter back to 0 and fade it out entirely by 3:11*

5. Louisahhh : W.LV.S, “WITH L (Aubervilliers Mix)” (RAAR 2016)

Inspired by the big, anthemic feel of Mael’s selection, it feels like an “ally-oop” to throw down one of our label’s finest releases to date. It comes from the supergroup of Manu Le Malin and Electric Rescue, conjunctively known as W.LV.S.. This one keeps the energy up and drives it further. Hopefully by this point in the set, the crowd is visibly frothing. The massive melody and long break without a kick drum, followed by the hats coming around 5:06, make people lose their minds—or at least, that’s the goal.

*Around 4:34 bring in the next track without the lows*
*At 1:30 mix with both tracks while switching between low EQs at the end of bars*
*Use the low-ass filter on “With L” during the second breakdown, then fade out before 6:30*
*Bring up the British Murder Boys’ bass progressively while the last track fades out*

6. Maelstrom: British Murder Boys, “Be Like I Am” (Counterbalance 2005)

At this point it’s time to bring in more complex rhythms and break out of the tyranny of the four-to-the-floor techno pattern. “Be Like I Am” is my favorite track by British Murder Boys’, and it’s on their fifth EP, which was released in 2005. Its savage rhythms are expertly mixed down, proving you don’t need distortion to make industrial music. Once the crowd is fully wilding, it is basically a door kicked open to do whatever we want for the rest of our time together: DJs and audience now trust each other. This track establishes the fact that we are not going to stick to traditional techno, and they’re going to like it, damnit. Game on!

Read more Played Outs from Pangaea, the Zenker Brothers and more here.

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