What is techno? Scientists and philosophers have long since pondered the concept of its musical definition since it burst out of Detroit in the mid-‘80s. Is it that notion of the “ghost in the machine”, of soul from electronics that its inventors elicited? Or is it more the repetitive throb and thump of 4/4 beats and slow-burning momentum that the Berghain generation are proponents of? Croatian producer Petar Dundov’s stunning music manages to marry both ideals in the most explosive of fashions.
To Dundov, “techno is music that precedes movement. It is dance music, solid enough to carry emotions through the dance floor and abstract enough to be a template for ever”. And indeed his breathtaking productions embody this ethos, serving the inherent function of making your body pulse spontaneously while also challenging your brain with its complex melodies and slow-burning, hypnotic progressions. It’s the antidote for anyone who thinks that techno is about senseless, dull looping.
Although maybe the word “techno” doesn’t give enough detail about his style, it’s probably the nearest ballpark to whose principles his music adheres – and he is keen to expand the horizons of what people know and expect of the genre. But it’s that sense of his tracks being alive, forever evolving and expanding and increasing in intensity, which gives his music its unique sound and has seen his work crossover into a myriad of different areas of the global electronic music scene. The last two years have seen his mind-bending single Oasis (played by everyone from Dubfire to Sasha to Ben Klock to Prins Thomas to Timo Maas) take the scene by storm with its intricate, ever-changing melodies, John Digweed snapped him up for an epic rework of Alan Fitzpatrick’s Reflections, and Gregor Tresher squeezed a deep, mesmerising remix of his track The Life Wire out of him.
His music shows you that he’s a producer with more than churning out mindless, functional and dispensable drivel on his mind. There’s a philosophy entrenched in his productions that breathes the very spirit of life and dynamism into them: “My ultimate goal as a producer and musician is to bridge the world of inspiration and physical world to the extent where the listener wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the two. Music has this unique property to communicate deep emotions that are inherently in all of us. We just forgot how to use them, and my search is an attempt to revive those emotions where we all resonate as one.”
Born in Zagreb in the early ‘70s, his career in dance music stretches back the best part of 20 years, but it’s only in the new millennium that he’s been using his own name for his productions. Over the years he’s graced many of the world’s most prestigious and best-loved techno institutions – including mega-festivals I Love Techno, EXIT, Awakenings and Wire, and cutting-edge clubs like Berghain, Matter (RIP), Womb, Air, Fuse and Space. He counts a longstanding relationship with Belgium’s legendary Music Man label amongst his achievements, an imprint that has also played host to releases by everyone from Jeff Mills (for whose label Tomorrow he created the Sculptures mini-LP) to Green Velvet to Robert Hood.
Petar Dundov makes intelligent electronic music that breaks boundaries, moves feet and twists minds. He is without a doubt one of the most inspiring, original and daring producers in electronica, and with the likes of Sven Väth, Francois K, Laurent Garnier, Adam Beyer, Josh Wink, Guy J, Glimpse, Hernan Cattaneo, Brendan Moeller, and Danny Tenaglia amongst his fans, it would be hard to disagree.