5 Funky Techno Tracks From Matt Sassari

Aug 11, 2023

Harry Levin

3 min read

In 2023, techno has a very specific identity.

As the world falls in love with raving again post-pandemic, people want their techno to reflect years of pent-up energy. This calls for fast tempos, monstrous kicks, and synth passages reminiscent of what happens when an entire production rig of strobe lights is run through a digital audio work station.

However, just because this aesthetic of techno is dominating now doesn't mean it's the only valid expression. It's important to remember that techno, like all major genres of music, has its own spectrum. There was a time when techno skewed in a different direction.

"I miss the era when techno was funky!" Matt Sassari told Gray Area in his spotlight last year.

Sassari, a French-born producer, and DJ who has been releasing music actively for a decade, unsurprisingly has a penchant for funk, given his French roots.

Artists like Kavinsky, Justice, Daft Punk, Gesaffelstein, and even newer ones like Madeon, keep France’s funky history alive in their catalogs.

Furthermore, while these artists, including Sassari himself, all have vastly different-sounding discographies, they all capture the essence of funk. Though funk is technically a genre of music, most prevalent in the 1970s for its heavy grooves, it's also a type of energy.

Funk is that undeniable spark. It's the magic that gets feet tapping and heads bobbing. It permeates music in a way that defies classification. Every genre in history has had a period dominated by funk, and these five tracks from Matt Sassari demonstrate a time when techno was funky at its best.

1. Alyhaa

If there's one artist that embodies the intersection of funk and techno, it’s Green Velvet. Hailing from Chicago, the birthplace of some of the funkiest house music, Velvet has funk in his DNA. Whether he's signing a house track or a techno track to his label, Relief, the presence of funk is guaranteed. This is evident in “Alyhaa,” one of Sassari’s many releases on Relief, which stands out as an especially funky techno track.

2. Lost The Nation

While Toolroom is generally recognized as a house music label, Matt Sassari's ability to infuse techno with funk made him a perfect fit. “Lost The Nation” employs an exceedingly simple song form – kick, bass, hats, and some swirling effects. But sometimes, that's all you need.

3. Relax

Contrary to the title, "Relax" will have listeners on their toes. Full of eerie synth stabs and unsettling pads, the steady kick creates a funky atmosphere that isn't overly fast or hyped but still conjures a compelling sense of motion.

4. Boom Boom feat. CHRSTPHR

The rise of John Summit heralded a new era for house and techno. Matt Sassari's signing to Summit’s label, Off the Grid Records, proves that this era still has a place for funk. With Summit's stamp of approval, there's a touch of house to the track, but deep grooves and a dark ambiance ensure a robust techno foundation.

5. Get Down Low feat. Jewel Kid

Matt Sassari's latest track, "Get Down Low", is a captivating collaboration with the talented Maltese-born DJ and producer, Jewel Kid. With the entrancing vocals of a deep male voice uttering "I want to see you get low" coupled with dark, resonant synths, a refined buildup, ethereal echoes, and a pulsating bass line drop, this track is undeniably destined to set the dance floor ablaze.

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