Formed one London winter's day out of a rather remarkable impromptu studio session in 2011; Dense & Pika are a British electronic production/artist/DJ duo compromising of producer/DJs Alex Jones and Chris Spero better known to many by his Glimpse alias.
The duo have three releases under their belt from Hotflush, played live at the cream of the world's clubs not least Trouw (Amsterdam), Panorama Bar (Berlin), Fabric (London) and most recently BPM (Mexico) for Richie Hawtin's Enter with club support over flowing from electronic music's finest DJ dignitaries such as Skream, Scuba, Breach, George Fitzgerald, Adam Beyer, Dubfire, Jackmaster, Dusky and beyond. They've even taken the time out to remix the likes of Maya Jane Coles and Paul Woolford. So why all the hype? Simple. They make really good music in the studio and crucially they can do it live too!
So first things first; the music.. So Dense and Pika grew up listening to lots of old UK acid techno from labels like Pounding Grooves and Routemaster, and more classical techno like Jeff Mills and Surgeon as well as a fondness for the sound of old rave records from the 90's.
Their tracks often coming from long jam sessions in the studio on various bits of kit from delays to modulators to filters, recording the outcome and then editing afterwards. Lots of layering and side-chaining and re-recording things through outboard kit gives us a really full, crunchy sound. Messing around with things and using equipment the wrong way, distorting, etc., and then stumbling across things. Having two minds on the kit, can create moments that you would not be able to create on your own but the drums are always provided by the band's trusted classic 909.
Indeed, 2012 saw a rather wonderful white label techno EP called “Vomee” start to crop up amongst the record bags of electronic music's elite. Dense & Pika's first as a duo released on their own eponymous imprint. Everyone was dancing but no one knew who too? Conspiracy theorists on internet forums to club cubicles were all speculating who the anonymous duo were.
Both names in their own right. Alex Jones as a producer, remixer, DJ, Hypercolour label boss (which has released the likes of Groove Armada, Huxley and Maya Jane Coles through it's doors) and creator of some rather famed unconventional if not unique artwork! Glimpse with a career spanning 11 years having previously released on Planet E, Hotflush, Aus, Hypercolour, Cross Town, and his own Glimpse Recordings, enjoyed two successive 'Best British Producer’ nominations by DJ Mag, developing a huge cult following at Tokyo’s legendary Womb and even closing the Space Closing Fiesta (Ibiza). The duo decided that they did not want to be judged on their existing reputations and expectations but instead just on their plaudits of their work and not the hype.
The releases were supported with acclaimed live shows and djs gigs across the globe. Darkened lights, projections and a whole lot of kit again kept many guessing still as to who was stood before them. It didn't really matter though as again the most important thing for Dense & Pika is always the performance. Live it's full of energy with a mix of planned sections and some good old fashioned improvisation just to keep things fresh and you never get the same D&P set twice. The aim is to stray as far from the original tracks as possible whilst still keeping them recognisable. They're dj sets allowing them to explore things from their wider musical spectrum.
This air of mystery continued as the band released their first two highly lauded Eps, “Crispy Duck” followed by the lovingly named “Buttplug” EP, on the seemingly unstoppable techno label Hot Flush Recordings.
Most recently the "Colt" EP completed a hatrick of releases on Hot Flush proving the most successfully to date both critically and commercially. With all the hallmark analogue, dust-treated sounds, the record kicks into gear with the unpredictably lush piano refrain of “Colt”, the almost demonic work out that is “Black Deep” with a pure body-blow bass, whilst original white label track “Vomee” cruises along a bed of sparse atmospherics, dub-indebted stabs and bastardised vocals. Rounding off the EP is “Airless (Live)”. Recorded in one take with live percussionists, woodwind and modular synthesizers, exhibiting their latent versatility and teasing at the possibilities yet to come.
A resounding success by anyone standards the EP enjoyed simultaneous top 5 placings in the Deep House and Techno on Beatport with lead track Colt proving the real smash peaking at number 3 on the overall chart and at time of press is still making the chart several months after release as well as making the end of year most charted top 100 on Resident Advisor!
Now, content that the Dense & Pika project drew praise in it's own right the duo finally waived their right to anonymity.
So what does 2014 hold for Dense & Pika? Well alongside touring the world, some select remixing and rumours of a compilation in the works. The guys are currently working on their debut album. No dates though. No rushes to push out something slap dash to capitalise on duo's current Midas touch status. As all good things are; the debut will be ready when it's ready… and we're secretly confident that it will be more than worth the wait!