New York City’s Abe Duque is one of many great techno producers getting much more respect and gigs overseas while largely getting the shaft in his own country.
Perhaps that will change with techno underground enjoying quite a wonderful renaissance, but at least Duque continues to crank out the tunes. The man was the resident DJ at the NYC techno cauldron Limelight during its most infamous days and created some of the most compelling tracks of the time. His global profile rose again thanks to 2005’s stellar So Underground It Hurts that brought Duque gigs all over the world (well, overseas, that is). With Don’t Be So Mean, Duque opts to veer toward the more subdued and textural side of techno. He chooses slow, churning builds and smooth layers rather than jack hammering listeners with industrial strength beats. “Tonight Is Your Answer” has a sci-fi feel built with martian-like drones, sound effects, tribal drums and nasty 303 action while “Following My Heart” reveals Duque’s emotional side with some call-and-response vocal techno. Further along Duque veers off on a chillout tangent with spacey downtempo numbers “Why They Need US” and “Ofma.” Like many techno albums to come along in recent years, this one skews slightly more for home listening than a full-on speaker blowout.
File under: Gui Boratto, Richie Hawtin, Michael Mayer