Deep’a & Biri – Dominance [Black Crow Records]

Central to the Israeli club scene, Deep’a & Biri have long been defying expectations even within a community they helped construct. Serving as resident DJs, activists and bookers for Tel Aviv’s legendary Barzilay Club, the pair helped build a transcendent club scene.

Hugely influential artists such as Robert Hood, Derrick May, Rødhad, Ben Klock and Moritz Von Oswald passed through the club, enjoying legendary crowds and what they could surely sense was a genuine air of anarchy, rebellion and unadulterated rave pleasure.

As the duo held down dozens of parties with dozens of DJs, there was no ‘eureka’ moment for their emerging sound; just a steady stream of brilliant, inspiring electronic music, much of which left an indelible imprint on the pair. Now based in Berlin, for Deep’a & Biri, things are much the same, even if the landscape and the city is different. Always rooted in the fertile ground between machines and emotion, on their second full-length LP, ‘Dominance’, the duo demonstrate their unique grasp of the sensitive, unfolding relationship between man and machine. Steadfast in their insistence never to remain in one lane in terms of their sound, ‘Dominance’ flawlessly segues between forcefulness and weightlessness. From beginning to end, this is not a record afraid to show its teeth with an uncompromising, instantly recognisable techno palette that kicks the foundations of any sound system with menace, anger and determination, particularly on tracks such as the dense ‘Voltage’ and pulsing throughout the more industrial flourishes of ‘Ecole De Nancy’ and ‘Seeking Solace’.

Beyond these grittier, although never mindless, moments of authority, a sense of escapism and curiosity imbues the album. ‘Alpha Cephei’ offers the first hint of Deep’a & Biri’s more wistful concepts, producing a smoke trail of twinkling electronics out of a smudged but distinctive bassline. That understated sense of emotional catharsis carries throughout, to be found between the complex-yet-familiar bells that drive ‘Flow Diverter’s’ rhythm to a Detroit-indebted landscape that will surely instantly elasticate any keen dancers, while ‘False Memories’ offers big-room techno fulfillment with none of the character or sincerity removed for cheap thrills. Saving the most remarkable moments for last, the pair sign off ‘Dominance’ with the poignant and purifying ‘Astral Trails’, fusing an ethereal, ambient landscape with the more pronounced rhythms of their hardware.

The album’s distinctive artwork comes from the studio of Jewish orthodox artist Avraham Guy Barchil, who forged a powerful connection with Deep’a, both was immediately drawn to “weird atmosphere, amazing technique and emotions involved with his work”. Perhaps one of the most interesting painters from Israel, Avraham is known for his unique perspective, taking his inspiration from the Zohar – the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. The ambiguous figures represent mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses), as well as material on mysticism and mythical cosmogony.

Ensuring their natural, conscious touch always remains at the forefront of this unapologetically machine-driven music, Deep’a & Biri have produced an album in the lineage of their heroes and greatest influences. Cerebral yet satisfying, deep yet always engaging, ‘Dominance’ both reasserts and evolves Deep’a & Biri’s forward facing and singular sound.

A1. Theories Of Loneliness
A2. Voltage
A3. Alpha Cephei
B1. Avicenna
B2. Alkalinity
C1. École de Nancy
C2. Flow Diverter
D1. False Memories
D2. Seeking Solace
D3. Astral Trails