One Random Single a Day #110: “Darkness” (1997) by Dance Test Dummies

I have no idea what I’m listening to right now, so I’m just going to keep it short. I don’t know very much about all the different forms of dance music there are out there (believe me, I’ve tried!), but I do have a pretty good idea of what sounds I tend to gravitate toward. In general, I enjoy the disco minimalism of house music, as well as the soft, melodic tendencies of trance. What I often veer away from, however, are the harsher sounds of hardcore techno and electronic dance music – while repetition isn’t an immediate turn-off for me in music, it’s often a bit tougher for me to really get into the intense, stabby vibes of much of this type of music. Not to say that it’s bad at all; it’s probably just not for me!

I’ve found out very little about Dance Test Dummies, other than the fact that they hail from Barcelona. They are also members of a very specific subgenre known as Makina, a distinctly Spanish component of the hardcore techno scene as a whole. Like hardcore, it contains elements of influence from EBM and industrial music, including faster tempos, intense atmosphere, and aggressive kicks in its saturated, bass-driven sound. I don’t exactly know how exactly it differs from hardcore, other than the fact that it’s specifically of Spanish origin, which might be an interesting note to consider if only I knew what exactly this entailed.

So, while “Darkness” begins with some intense, jagged handclaps, it only gets even more aggressive from there. Some stuttering vocal samples come into play, before the bass fully kicks in and sets the track into high gear. Later on, some high-octane synth sounds find their way into the mix, adding just another dose of euphoric energy to the mix. I’m not sure if I enjoy this, exactly, but it sure does make me move. I could imagine that this would sound even better when projected into its club atmosphere, which it’s so obviously made for.

As I mentioned earlier, though, this much aggression packed in a record that is supposed to make me dance is a little much for me. I’m really not in the position to dictate whether this is “good” Makina or not – it honestly just sounds like the stereotypical repetitive EDM that I’ve gotten hints of throughout the years. In any case, I’m sure it’s target audience could find some fun in this track that I honestly can’t really pinpoint, no matter how hard I strain my listening mind.

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