BREAKBEAT TOUR SILENT SERVANT’S TOP RECENT RELEASES ACCORDING TO US
SILENT SERVANT [L.I.E.S. RECORDS, 2016] BREAKBEAT
SILENT SERVANT [HOSPITAL PROD., 2023] BREAKBEAT
SILENT SERVANT [TRESOR RECORDS, 2023] BREAKBEAT
GOLDEN RELEASE A SPECIAL MENTION
SILENT SERVANT [HOSPITAL PRODUCTIONS]
A brief historical recap is necessary to understand how important Silent Servant is for the hypnotic techno scene.
In 1991, journalist Matthew Collin summarised the early IDM as such: “If Belgian techno gives us riffs, German techno the noise, British techno the breakbeats, then Detroit supplies the sheer cerebral depth.” With the interplay of the different cultures, the British side focused on the beat, deployed in various forms partly to dynamite pop music, from hard techno to jungle. In 1993, Regis and Female created the hard techno label Downwards, which extended in 2002 to Sandwell District, more minimal. Like Prologue, Sandwell District was a close family of artists, which saw the emergence of talented American producers: Silent Servant, who also became the label’s Art Director, Function and Horvitz as Rrose. Yet the label closed in 2011, four years before Prologue, which shared a similar fate.
Sandwell District is mythic for its high underground values and for having basically transformed Säkho’s minimalism into danceable tracks, providing fresh new sounds to Berghain in its early years. Silent Servant, in particular, was diffusing dope beats in the club, infused with innovative industrial sounds. Additionally, he could also play post-punk records at a bar in Los Angeles, and from this melting pot of charismatic genres came “Negative Fascination” in 2012 on Fernow’s label Hospital Productions.
If “Feed Forward” stands as Sandwell District’s best album, “Negative Fascination” has been a significant milestone on Fernow’s imprint, for setting a bridge between industrial, experimental and hypnotic techno, while incorporating memorable gothic kinematics and deep ambiences. The track “Invocation Of Lust”, in particular, holds an iconic status for us, comparable to Polar Inertia’s “Black Sun” released one year before.
With such impressive works, it is no surprise that artists such as Ness, Claudio PRC, Peter Van Hoesen and Sigha openly confessed to having been greatly influenced by the UK hypnotic techno school.
From 2014 until his passing, Silent Servant developed more confident melodic chords and naturally transitioned into the realm of UK breakbeat. In the making, he elevated the genre to new heights, as he had always done.
His last release, “In Memoriam“, somewhat carries a dramatic prophetic connotation in its title, at the same time engaging in remembrance.
Have faith that we will not forget you, dear maestro…
TRIBUTE WALL A SELECTION OF PUBLIC MESSAGES FROM THE SCENE AND FROM OUR COMMUNITY
DANIEL AVERY:I once asked Silent Servant what a record was as he was playing a reliably beautiful set. The next time I saw Juan he had bought me my own copy of the vinyl. An amazing artist and incredibly gentle guy. RIP to a true one.
RROSE:Juan. We met in ‘97, went on our first tour in ‘99. When I started a new project in 2011, you gave me the confidence to run with it. I wouldn’t be where I am without you. An inspiration to so many, yet always humble to the core. You will be missed so much. Rest in love my friend.
THE BLESSED MADONNA:RIP Juan Silent Servant, whose music has been a fixture in my life and my husband’s for as long as I can remember. I’m immensely grateful for the pleasure of booking Juan at Smartbar and seeing him play many times. Love to everyone who is in deep grief today.
BOYS NOIZE:Damn RIP Juan Silent Servant. Heartbreaking news that he, his wife and Soft Moon have died. I only met Juan a handful of times, I was a huge fan of all his music and DJ sets, he inspired so many of us. I will never forget our b2b. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.
SCHOOL OF THE ARTS:RIP Silent Servant. He used our track in a mix once, we’d never met or corresponded before or after. Then we were on the same bill years later and I wanted to introduce myself, but he beat me to it. He identified me in a big crowded room immediately and came to say hi.
ROB BOOTH:Devastated to hear the news Juan Silent Servant has passed away. He gave me a sold out copy of “Negative Fascination” from the US all the way to Fabric one time; I will never forget that. He didn’t want a penny for it either, I love that album. Juan will be sorely missed.
THE KVB:Too heartbroken for words and struggling to believe that three of our dear friends have passed away far too soon. We will always remember Juan, Simone and Luis.
PAN:Juan Silent Servant, one of the kindest souls we encountered in music and beyond… an incredibly sad loss.
YEARS OF DENIAL:This hits hard. It was at the very beginning of YOD when you told us after our show how much you loved it and that we should keep doing whatever we’re doing… Forever inspiration and legend. We can’t believe it and we don’t want to. Your music and legacy will live forever. In loving memory of John Juan Mendez. May you rest in peace.
NITSA CLUB:We remain devastated by the loss of John Juan Mendez and Luis Vasquez, two artists who gave us unforgettable performances at Nitsa Club. Their legacies at the crossroads of techno, darkwave and industrial music will inspire generations. Our thoughts are with their families and closest friends at this very difficult time. May they rest in peace.
DIRTY EPIC: An artist in every facet of his life, Juan’s talents encompassed DJing, production, graphic design, and even mentorship. His professional accomplishments were undeniable, but it was his personal qualities that truly resonated with those who knew him. Juan was a pillar of quiet strength, balancing firmness with an immense capacity for care and kindness. His intelligence, generosity, and infectious humor illuminated every room he graced. Those who were fortunate enough to work or simply share time with him will forever cherish their memories of his gentle yet impactful presence. We join the music community in mourning Juan Mendez, alongside Simone Ling and Luis Vasquez, who also departed much too soon. We stand united in celebrating their creative spirit and the immeasurable impact they have left on our lives. Rest in peace, Juan. Your absence is deeply felt, but your legacy will continue to inspire and bring joy for years to come.
SEBASTIÁN SERRANO:Los Angeles Death Cult (with Dominick Fernow aka Vatican Shadow), Sandra Electronics (with Regis), Sandwell District (with Function and Regis) and perhaps the music of this collective is the most significant for me during my adolescence and my passage into youth and to adulthood. In the end, is a fact that Juan Mendez’s music touched each and every one of the fibres of my soul at different times and in its different facets, obviously without leaving aside everything done under the name of Silent Servant and that I still love. It still seems totally implausible that his latest album is called “In Memoriam”. I still don’t believe it but it is a fact that Juan lives and will live forever in his music.
MOTION SYMMETRY:Devastating news, Sandwell District was a true inspiration in the early days of my techno journey. RIP to all three souls involved.
DAVY:We didn’t meet in person, but having done the course on Home Of Sound , about label identity (with him teaching), I felt that he was a super kind person, genuinely sharing all his knowledge. I remember thinking that I would have loved to meet him some day… RIP Juan, you have been a massive inspiration as an artist but also as a person.
HANI SAMA:We never start and we never finish. Thank you for the pure inspiration and the honest art you created. Safe journey, John Juan Mendez. Your music will continue to serve silently.
WHITE MOON:What a terrible loss… Such an inspiring soul that will always be remembered for his good job and his quality. His presence will always be with us, vibrating with his music and making the silences fuller and brighter. Rest in peace…
CLARENCE RISE:This news devastated me yesterday…. What a loss. RIP Silent Servant, Simone Ling and Luis Vasquez from Soft Moon.
RICHARD FORGE:Rest in peace Master, wherever you are now, your music will always stay and inspire many more people! Thank you!
* The Gif of our titles come from the above-mentioned mix, our favourite one from the maestro.