lazy YT-jaying: Swayzak

Swayzak notes from Discogs:

Tech house duo from the United Kingdom that consists of James S. Taylor and David Brown. They live and work in London.

The name Swayzak comes from "zwińÖzek" which means "union" in Polish.

I seem to recall an interview from back in the day where they said they took the name from Patrick Swayze. Much better. (Naming one of their LPs "Dirty Dancing" favors the latter interpretation.)

Taylor and Brown started working together in 1993, under the name "Language Lab" though they first met in 1989, after working for four years of mainly studio evolvement, became Swayzak in 1997. Taylor left the group in 2012 and Brown continues alone.

Alone, alone, to soldier on into the existential fog that is the life of... the techno musician. But seriously, what I admire and envy about Swayzak is (a) the "deep" sound that is tinged with melancholy but also occasionally humor and (ii) the ability to do long songs with a few simple elements, which are made lush and mysterious through the use of reverb and impeccable production skills.

A short history of Swayzak:

Swayzak "Low-Rez Skyline" [YouTube] from 1998 -- CD version

Swayzak "Low-Res Skyline" [YouTube] from 1997. 12-inch. In addition to the change of spelling "low-res," the song is structured much differently. The electro "whonk/zap" sound comes in at the middle and is used to make tunes. The CD version is better overall but the comparison intrigues.

At the peak of the duo's popularity they began adding vocals, some by name musicians. This didn't work, owing to the incompatibility of grafting an overt "humanizing" element into a genre which charms through its essentially alienated, abstract, mental space. Swayzak had already successfully "humanized" techno with the touches mentioned above. You don't need Kirsty Hawkshaw singing on top of that.

One exception is:

Swayzak "Illegal (Bigga Bush Version)" [YouTube] Not because the rasta poetry is great but for the overall development of the song from slow, ambient stabs to full-on house, replete with a disco bassline.

In any case, happily, years later, now that Brown is... alone... Swayzak is back in form.

Swayzak "Shot by Both Sides" [YouTube] from 2016. 13 minutes!