Review: Privacy – Human Resource Exploitation Manual (Lobster Theremin)

Privacy – Human Resource Exploitation Manual (Lobster Theremin)

I’m not sure why, but I suddenly seem to have more unplayed Lobster Theremin records than I have spare time, which is a real shame considering the amount of fun I know they contain. Somewhere around the spring time, LT went into overdrive and started throwing out records at a dizzying rate. It’s either a sign of rude health or utter madness. I’m not sure which. All I know is that most of them will be class – at least I would know that if I could get caught up.

Privacy’s second release for the label, though, was one I wanted to make time for. His début on LT, last year’s Hypertext, was the real deal even though I shamefully neglected it on its release. For a label that can pride itself on providing the listener with a pretty good cross-section of contemporary house, techno and electronica Hypertext stood out with its mash up of Chicago beats, cold brewed electroid madness and skittish, downbeat funk. If there was a criticism to be made, it’s that it didn’t always seem to hang together as convincingly as it could, occasionally feeling like a couple of very different records on the same bit of wax; it felt like a sampler of his undoubted skills rather than a complete statement.

Human Resource Exploitation Manual definitely rectifies that feeling across three tracks which slide from icy electro-noir to beat driven electronica and on to furious, borderline, techno-bass. Elecctro is a bit of a crossroad at the moment, with a swing towards a greater amount of experimentalism than has been heard over the last few years, and Human Resource captures this changing mood. The difference here is that the tunes tend to be more meaty and urgent at heart, piling grooves into the space between the humping bass lines and noise.

The results are a tightly orchestrated, deeply symphonic assault on the genre which takes in touches of Rother and Kratwerkian movement whilst owing something to the sounds of some of his heavier label-mates. The two pure electro pieces here – Constant Transient and Apex Predator hail from different ends of the spectrum; the first a slowly building, swirling xeno-call of frosty sophistication replete with stabs of crystalline synths and dripping with acid, the second an out-and-out killer. Fast moving, bass heavy, balls to the wall mayhem reminiscent of the Miami Bass shenanigans from the likes of Dynamix II except less direct. Apex Predator is somehow more menacing. And there’s something gloriously, defiantly old-school about it that puts it at odds with a lot of modern electro, making it somehow more organic and brutal.

I guarantee that Apex Predator will be the one getting hammered in your nearest Friday night sweat pit from now until kingdom come (if they have any sense), but I suspect repeated listens will show Code to be the real eye-opener with its nasty, broken slo-mo bleeped up rave vibes. Twisted right the way around, it chews at the brain like proper alien hardcore should.

Given that LT are currently developing out into a number of sub labels, I wonder if we could petition for an out-and-out electro imprint? Given quality like this it’s a sure-fire winner, even if I do risk falling ever further behind in my listening. That’s a dangerous chance I’m willing to take.

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