Les Techno Earns His Laurels on “Flowers For Dystopia” Single
Whatever else it may be—social commentary, a sign of the times, a statement of independence in a world in which interdependence is fast failing—“Flowers for Utopia”, the latest single from singer/songwriter/guitarist Les Techno, is the real deal. This record could have been cut in the ‘70s during Isaac Hayes’ heyday, with those wicked wah wah guitars working double and triple time.
Or, it could have typified the best of the output of the Brand New Heavies in the early to mid 90’s, with the riveting percussion (could that be a tambourine on overdrive?) holding you in place as you frenetically feed off the frenzied funk of those six-string, or possibly 12-string, instruments.
Techno’s grooving on this one, non-stop, at the type of pace that’s difficult to maintain for any musician. The thing is, before he even gets to the mic, he’s hitting you with ripples and layers of guitars. You’ve got those of the talking variety that originally rose to prominence in the 70’s, as well as an effect-laden, borderline distorted wah on top that capitalizes on the groove. Plus, there’s an obese bass line holding everything else together as an almost staid counterpoint to the energy of the jittery percussion echoed by the guitar strings.
Such instrumentalism, songwriting and song structure is immensely difficult to do—particularly in this age in which almost everyone has some closet version of Reason and Fruity Loops and can actually get signed, go platinum, and cash out without ever picking up an instrument. Techno’s making a point to play music while expressing the alienation—and varying degrees of attendant frustration—characterizing life in the fledgling third decade of this millennium.
It’s unclear as to which of these influences is most profound for the artist. Then again, it almost doesn’t matter so long as he keeps framing tracks like “Flowers” or its recently unveiled remix. Trust, if there just might be a bright side to the shadowy underpinnings of reality for the past few months, Techno’s latest very well could be it.
I mean, you’ve got to feel for a man who pines about “I wanna feel your touch/I wanna feel your breath against my face”, yet dare doesn’t—as the photo for the single clearly implies.