On a recent weekday afternoon, the District duo Rush Plus — Justin Nouhra and Jackson Ryland — convenes at a local coffee shop to explain how they produce such fast and freaky techno. “We just go with the flow,” says Nouhra, which sounds drab on paper but instructive when you actually hear the words race off his tongue. For these guys, the flow is faster than life, and when a Rush Plus track really gets going, its high-speed gnarliness might knock you clean out of your reality. “There’s a disorientation to it,” Ryland says. “That out-of-body experience thing.”
Accelerated transcendence wasn’t the goal when these two first linked up in the nightlife five years back, but once Nouhra and Ryland began pressing their ideas to vinyl in 2016, they had already learned that faster tempos can help unruly sounds congeal, a technique that holds the duo’s dizzying new EPs, “Dog House” and “The Sweat EP,” together.
“All the parts have a better glue when you speed it up,” Ryland says, squeezing his hands together, packing a phantom snowball. “Right,” Nouhra says. “It might sound too empty when it’s slower, but once you pump the tempo, it starts to have that groove.” Ryland again: “And when you start to slice that space between sounds, it might create a third sound that you didn’t hear” at first.
At this point, Nourha is gently bobbing his shoulders, having located the tempo in his mind’s ear. Ryland just grins, as if basking in that magical, illusory third sound. The air is busy with coffee shop clatter, but for a moment, the rhythms hurtling through their imaginations sound so much better than the real world.
Shows: May 19 at 10 p.m. at Roam, a regular dance party held at an undisclosed warehouse in Northeast D.C. For information the day of the event, email