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Pelon – No Stunts review

Second time around for Pelon’s long-forgotten dub techno classic, which first slipped out on Chain Reaction way back in 1996. These days, dub techno is ten-a-penny, but few contemporary records can claim to have the power, poise and invention of “No Stunts”. Even 14 years after it first dropped – to some acclaim amongst the techno community, we should add – it stills sounds fresher than many of the post-minimal dub techno records emerging from its motherland.

To put Pelon’s slept-on masterpiece in context, it was released at a time when Basic Channel were still in their pomp. As the infamous dub techno duo burrowed away in the studio, Chain Reaction showcased the work of younger contemporaries. Pelon – real name Henner Dondorf – was one such upstart. While he has since gone on to master and engineer numerous electronic records, “No Stunts” was his one and only solo single.

And what a single. The version chosen for this Running Back re-issue actually comes from a label compilation from 1998, but it varies very little from the original vinyl version. Now remastered, it comes on like a housier take on classic Basic Channel – its simple, delay and reverb-laden elements (relentless, rolling synths, one-note dub bass and solid kick drums) sparring constantly with occasional 909 snares and hissing hi-hats. It’s long, hypnotic, strangely beautiful and ethereal – and very, very good.Vinyl buyers with a passion for experimenting in the mix will enjoy the 30 locked grooves included on the flip – sounds and samples taken from the original sessions, just crying out to be used creatively. If you missed out first time around, don’t sleep.

Matt Anniss