In 2002, a small four-song EP by the name of “The Speck of the Future” introduced the world to German-based British techno producer Paula Temple. Despite the positive reception to the EP from those who heard it, few people took note. One of those few people however, was the legendary techno pioneer Jeff Mills, who found himself smitten with Temple’s industrial-tinted approach to techno that paid significant homage to the original Detroit Techno of which Mills himself was an integral pioneer.
Over the next few years, Mills would proceed to play the highlight of “The Speck of the Future,” “Contact,” several times across a handful of DJ sessions he hosted, to immense success. At one point, he played it twice in one session. Indeed the track was a masterwork in techno revivalism, taking notes from past legends (Mills almost certainly being among the influences) while unashamedly looking towards potential futures of the genre. Despite an enthusiastic co-sign from one of techno’s most important names however, “The Speck of the Future” would be the last anyone would hear from Temple for quite some time.
Paula Temple: from Jaguar Woman to “Colonized”
Other than a one-off appearance in a 2006 compilation put out by electronic label Dust Science, where she recorded under the alias Jaguar Woman, her next appearance to the public would not be until 2013, when with the help of long-standing electronic label R&S Records, she would release the EP-length single “Colonized,” featuring the eponymous track, two remixes and two bonus tracks.
“Colonized” took everything that made Mills notice “Contact” and pushed it to its logical extreme. The industrially cold temperatures and unapologetic mechanical rhythmic clanging that punctuates the track flirts across soundscapes alternately minimal and downright punishing, seamlessly and gracefully floating back and forth between both idioms with ease. Wherever Temple had been since “Contact,” it was clear she had spent ample time refining her approach to music.
Since 2013, Temple has maintained a more regular level of activity than she did for the bulk of the 2000s, with a steady release of singles and EPs over the years as well as sizable handful of expertly mixed and curated DJ sets. But until 2019, none of these developments had culminated in the release of a proper LP, either as Temple or Jaguar Woman.
Through her own independent record label Noise Manifesto, Temple released her first album, 17 years after “Contact.” The recording was available May 3, 2019.
Paula Temple and “The Edge of Everything”
Paula Temple’s debut album, the obliquely titled “Edge of Everything,” does represent a logical next step in the producer’s musical trajectory, and yet it remains genuinely surprising just how fine-tuned and effective her approach to industrial techno has become. Nearly every track is miles ahead of the already excellent “Colonized,” lightyears of equally powerful “Contact.”
Temple’s continued refinement of her signature sound becomes immediately apparent, with the opening track “Berlin” taking cues from the back-and-forth minimal-to-dense dynamics of “Colonized” and taking them even further, effectively tying together ambient and noise music without either mode feeling out-of-place. Following it is what is technically two versions of the same song, “Joshua And Goliath,” but with little in common between them beyond basic structure. The “Techno Version” is titled aptly, with of course, the techno in question being Temple’s own punishing, yet focused, industrial techno that characterizes the bulk of the album. This leads into the “Slow” version, which indeed takes a more laid-back, ambient approach to the same musical foundations, but never relents from the ominous industrial atmosphere that has been put forth since the outset, and that punctuates the entirety of the album, both during its sparse and maximalist moments.
The thematic conclusion of “Edge of Everything” comes with the penultimate track “Post-Scarcity Anarchism,” a steadily pounding, yet, constantly developing maverick of a track that seems to summarize the album as a whole, balancing countless approaches to techno production without ever letting you see the seams.
There is one track following, “Post-Scarcity Anarchism,” but it plays more like a (nonetheless welcome) bonus track; “Dimension Jumping,” despite its occasional flirtations with dissonant and emphatically bizarre sonic textures, remains very much a throwback track, a tribute to the Detroit techno of the 1980s that forms the most fundamental base of her sound, the techno serves as the foundation upon which Temple has been able to lay so much sparking originality, the techno of Mills. Whether it was her intention or not, “Dimension Jumping” draws a direct line from “The Speck of the Future” all the way back to “Contact,” underlining the history of a long, mysterious, and endlessly electrifying career from one woman who shows no signs of relenting from her endeavors to continue discovering new fresh and exciting sounds to be born out of the immense and always-active landscape of techno music.
Purchase the album here from the Noise Manifesto Bandcamp