Pig & Dan: Decade

Pig & Dan—not the most elegant name, is it? Thankfully, the music Igor Tchkotoua (Pig) and Dan Duncan produce is, in its own way, elegant but more importantly of high quality, something that's pretty much on par with everything Soma releases. With Decade described as a “10 year anniversary LP,” it might at first seem unclear as to whether the release is brand new material that celebrates a decade's worth of activity or a release that collects tracks produced during the last ten years. In fact, the former holds true: after meeting by chance on a flight to Spain in 1999, Tchkotoua and Duncan issued their first record three years later. Ten years on, the pair decided to create an entirely fresh batch of tracks for what turns out to be their second full-length, the first of which, Imagine, Cocoon released in 2007.

A Pig & Dan template of sorts comes into clear focus as Decade proceeds, with a typical track by the duo elaborately designed, mid-tempo, heavy on loops and samples, and about seven minutes in duration. Voice samples add colour to the tracks' crisp beats, and the production quality is consistently high from start to finish. Ride cymbals, pounding kick drums, and claps consistently give the tracks ample momentum and thrust. They certainly know how to elevate a track with a well-placed hook, too. “Insomnia” gets a major boost from its vocal samples, in particular a trippy chant and the “Feel it” and “Dance” stabs that pepper the song's wiry bass lines and driving house groove. The fourth cut, “Doing It For Yourself,” finds the duo plunging deep into a dramatic techno-rave zone and alternating between intense voiceover and orchestral episodes and stripped-down rolling funk sequences. Euphoric, trance-inducing material like “Natives” is tailor-made for the outdoor festival, especially when the track receives such oomph from its throbbing bounce and dizzying keyboard figures. There's no shortage of hard-grooving barnburners (e.g., “Liberation”) either.

Decade is an unquestionably solid affair that builds in intensity and momentum the farther into its seventy-six minutes it travels, and though its ten tracks are studio productions, many exude an excitement and dynamism that makes them feel like live club mixes. It's admittedly more notable as a work of craft than innovation—nothing on the collection advances the genre artistically in radical new manner—, but it nevertheless amounts to a strong argument for Pig & Dan as a well-oiled techno outfit and production duo.

July-August 2012