Perc is one of electronic dance music’s reference points: an internationally touring DJ, label owner and one of the finest producers around. For London-based Perc, aka Ali Wells, his rise to prominence has seen him releasing atmospheric drone and premium techno since 2002. It was pretty clear that he was headed for good things when James Holden supported one of his early demos. As usual, Holden wasn’t wrong.
In 2007 things started to get seriously interesting when Perc was noticed by the tastemaking Kompakt records. With the release of “Up” to massive critical acclaim remix requests flooded in and Perc was invited by DJ Hell to remix “Buttersäure”. The result was an industrially fortified techno remix that sparked interest across the scene. Particularly for Adam Beyer who approached Perc to ask for a release on his Drumcode imprint. That year the brilliant “Sticklebrick” EP came out on Drumcode, which lead to another remix for a heavyweight, this time Trentemøller. By the end of 2007 Perc was rightly established at the forefront of global electronic music.
As a DJ, Perc has taken to the decks from Mexico to Japan and in seminal club like Berlin’s Berghain all across the world. His approach? Perc’s hard drive brims with tracks including his own productions and armfuls of tools. His sound? It’s a blend of the cream of current techno and choice selections from electronic music’s Birmingham and Detroit forefathers. When it comes to playing live Perc goes deep. He mixes purely his own productions both released and unreleased, reconfiguring them into driving sounds; drone becomes big room techno becomes broken-beat becomes groove. Perc creates DJ and live sets that are industrial landscapes optimized for the dance floor.
His label, Perc Trax, was started in 2004 as a way for Perc to release his own productions, but it’s organically evolved into much more than just that. Under Perc’s careful guidance it’s developed a cutting edge core roster of Sawf, Forward Strategy group, Perc, Donor / Truss with heavyweights like Samuli Kempi guesting. With parties in London, Miami, Glasgow, Mexico, it’s clear that there are people in every corner of the globe with an ear to the ground, listening for where the eclectic Perc Trax will go next.
2010 was a brilliant year for Perc, seeing the release of “Vertigo I & II” on Perc Trax, a 12” on CLR and “Monad V” on Stroboscopic Artefacts. His productions clearly stem from an amalgam of influences and a listen to Perc’s excellent CLR or RA podcast begins to prise the lid off these origins: early nineties drum and bass to British Hammer horror film aesthetics. The horror genre influence is felt in Perc’s approach, his releases and DJ sets are filled with tension and play with the audience’s expectations. Perc is currently in the studio working on his first album. The record will no doubt gather together the direction of Perc’s back catalogue and take it to the outer fringes of techno. Not just 4/4, but out into the sinister, droning edges of electronic dance music. As always, Perc is one to listen out for.