Skin On Skin, Australia's new tech-house export, is ready for your attention
Since emerging with their debut EP last year, Skin On Skin have stepped up as an exciting new light in Australia's club world.
The club music world is often a difficult one to navigate, but it's one filled with a lot of unearthed brilliance ready for attention. Typically, producers within the club-centric world - especially those in the heavier realms of techno and club-house - don't find widespread attention years into their careers, whether it's international acts such as The Black Madonna blossoming into festival staples after decades of refining their craft on the club circuit, or homegrown musicians having to find a home in international waters before they're seeming 'accepted' back here, an almost 'tall poppy syndrome'-esque haze falling across acts such as Mall Grab until the rest of the country simply woke up.
With that in mind, seeing these often quite small names ushered into the spotlight brings us a tonne of pleasure, and one that's worth keeping an eye on across the last twelve months is Skin On Skin. The musician behind the project is a familiar face to the Australian electronic world we've talked about a fair bit over the years, but Skin On Skin feels like the producer finding his feet in a more comfortable setting than what's been explored in the past; a sense of passion oozing through every one of Skin On Skin's tracks in a way that feels a little more pure and potent than it has in the past.
Skin On Skin isn't exactly a new thing, however. The project was born with last year's Steel City Dance Discs Volume 9, a four-track-strong introduction into the project and its pacing rhythms that introduced Skin On Skin as a fresh new face to Australian electronic worth paying attention to, exploring the boundaries of hard-hitting club music and its left-field approached in a world that doesn't feel too influenced by the techno hotspots like you find from producers gaining attention in Europe or the UK.
Seemingly, the project caught the attention of Mall Grab, who has become somewhat of a flag-flyer not just for Australia's club world - the producer has blossomed into one of house music's most well-adored names, especially internationally - but also for the next generation that lays within it. He enlisted Skin On Skin for a European tour that brought the producer's relentless energy through uncharted territories, and then at the tail-end of last year, teamed up with Skin On Skin for a collaborative EP that harnessed their respective energies and showcased how they can compare and contrast with one another, ushering the fresh-faced new name in Australian club music into the limelight in the process of doing so.
Skip forward to now, and Skin On Skin is embracing the newfound spotlight. His new four-track EP Get Some Understanding! finds itself an early highlight of Australia's thriving electronic output, taking everything the producer has swept up in the past twelve months - time in Europe, time spent collaborating with some of the country's most exciting names in dance culture - and smashing it together for a dark collection of highlights that form the perfect basis for Skin On Skin's next steps, introducing himself to the world in a stronger way that has him ready to lap up the limelight.
They're four tracks that take the tribal-esque rhythms and light-hearted sampling of songs from his debut EP (the EP highlight Multiply, for example, takes a very recognisable hip-hop siren and twists it into a head-bopping house epic) and reduces it down to its most simplistic and effective; each of the four songs displaying heightened intricacy and emphasis on craft while Skin On Skin's increasing evolution and growth finds itself layered amongst percussive layers and subtle, stripped-back synth work that fuel its constant, four-on-the-floor pulse.
Get Some Understanding!, the EP's title track, is exact proof of what we're talking about. It's a hard-hitting four-and-a-half minutes of clever sampling and heavy bass, with Skin On Skin whipping up a swirling storm that takes everything we've come to expect from his past work - his work with Mall Grab included - and elevates it to the next level, pushing the boundaries of local house music and ushering in an exciting next generation that's worthy of paying attention to.
In another example from the EP, Be Calm, Skin On Skin enlists Willaris. K for a long-winding six-minutes that manages to capture the relentless energy of Skin On Skin's vivacious live show, but twisted with the controlled chaos of Willaris. K's most spectacular and heavy-handed techno. It's a spiralling descent into manic electronica that despite building to a chaotic combination of layers in its most climactic moment, somehow feels placed together with jigsaw precision to ensure it never gets too much; Willaris' lasering synth finding a home amongst Skin On Skin's thick bass kicks and frantic percussion.
Australia's relationship with tech-house music can be complicated, particularly in regards to work that sits a little outside of the electronic norm. In saying that, acts like Skin On Skin prove that despite everything, there's still a home for exciting electronic acts that could easily be among our next international exports (Skin On Skin has already toured Europe, for example, and there are no doubts that more international touring is on the cards once the current situation allows it), and gives hope to the rest of the kids out there who think Australia's lack of Europe-like house culture means there is little space for them back home.
Skin On Skin is ready for your attention. The only question is, can you keep up?
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