Smoke Machine is an elusive Taiwanese record label with an outlet in Berlin that has managed to develop somewhat of a cult following not just in Taiwan but also amongst techno elitists around the world. In fact, you could say they enjoy more popularity in Europe than in Asia, where they also run an equally as elusive festival called Organik. The annual three-day techno festival takes place on an idyllic swathe of land looking out over the Pacific Ocean on Taiwan's east coast with a line-up made of artists from labels like Ostgut Ton and Giegling on regular rotation. The purposely small festival also become one of the world's most revered techno events, an experience that is reserved for very few.
Outside of Taiwan in Asia, Smoke Machine is still relatively unknown and usually draws blank stares whenever we bring it up. We found it about time to learn about the local label and their lauded podcast series, which has so far delivered 139 podcasts from local and international artists like Rødhåd, Nobu, Kobosil, Ø [Phase], Gunnar Haslam, Etapp Kyle, Minilogue, Xhin, Efdemin, Eric Cloutier, Vril, Ulf Eriksson, Mama Snake, Dr. Rubinstein and more.
Despite this long list of names, Smoke Machine could care less if the artist delivering a podcast plays at Berghain or in their own basement — their skill lies in curating sets that deliver blissful, subliminal and louring techno. Smoke Machine have been way ahead the rest of Asia when it comes to seeking out standout techno talent, with the first set uploaded to SoundCloud a decade ago by SM resident Diskonnected. The account has since become a go-to source for soundtracking living room parties all over the globe.
The SoundCloud account officially took off nine years ago and has since been used by Smoke Machine to also share Taiwan's unique sounds while also introducing techno titans like Ø [Phase] and Rødhåd to Asia long before most people in the region knew who they were. Today, the Taipei based account has almost 40,000 followers and delivers hours long podcasts every other month.
Interested in submitting a podcast? Good luck. The notoriously clandestine brand is meticulously selective about who they associate with, but you can connect with them anyway via their website or Facebook.
Here are ten standout podcasts to get you familiar with Smoke Machine. There are 139 on their SoundCloud account, so you're pretty much set for music to get you through another week of isolation.
1. Mama Snake
Smoke Machine 132 comes via Mama Snake who delivers slithering techno and trance straight from Copenhagen's red-hot techno scene, where she is known for her futuristic, virtually driven, and industrialized mixed with metal style.
2. Dr. Rubinstein
While somewhat of a newcomer, Dr. Rubinstein is a self-proclaimed "true raver" has been turning heads in Berlin's techno scene since arriving from Tel Aviv for her hypnotic acid, 90s rave and louring techno style.
3. Phase Fatale
This Berlin-based techno project delivers exactly what you would expect from Berghain regulars — raw, punchy and cinematic techno.
4. Forest Drive West
Joe Baker, aka Forest Drive West, is known for obsessively digging for new music. He’s also gotten a lot of attention for being a purveyor of raw and emotive techno and for his catalogue of jungle. He appears on Smoke Machine 134 podcast with 94 minutes of sorcery.