Review: Second Storey – Telekinesis Via Fax (Trust)

Second Storey – Telekinesis Via Fax (Trust)

It seems to have been a quiet 2017 for Second Storey so far after a busy 2016, and this release on the excellent Trust represents his first record of the year so far. We last saw him around these parts with his Bismuth release on Houndstooth back in the Autumn. That record was the sort of genre-bending we still don’t see overly much of in electro, and it doused the grooves with ripples of Detroity synths and dapples of abstract experimentalism. It was class and eye-opening blast of future dancefloor.

The good news is that Telekinesis Via Fax runs on a similar engine. This is not electro of a comfortably familiar sort; break beats are fractured, morphing from shape to shape with an ear for theoretical impact; structures glimmer and strobe before disappearing into the ether. While electro provides a base, there is a lot more going on. IDM-ish lunacy fuels the music, as do nods towards dubstep and grime, particularly in the way chunks of bass are fused to the weirdly joyous asymmetry of the tunes.

Opener, Attack Of The Modlings, siphons a lot of these twisted leanings right from the off, and the tunes buckles under its own broken, breakneck, internal logic. There are beautiful passing motifs and touches, but the scattergun approach frustrates the evolution of the groove and the tune slackens from its early energy into a stutter of disparate ideas. The DLMS mix is more successful, eschewing the randomness in favour of a sleeker, tighter, and more traditional roller that mounts the original’s fuzzy storm over a tight and fierce beat allowing the funk room to breathe.

Quantock Point To Point prowls in a hinterland of long shadows and nervous glances. But it never descends into anything overtly dark. Instead it builds a free-riding cybernetic jacker out of the contrasts between the concrete slam of the beat and twisting, spiralling leads and little rivulets of sound which recall less electro and more a subtle reinterpretation of breakbeat in its early, happy-go-lucky UK incarnation.

Telekinesis Via Fax itself latches onto a similar early rave vibe and marbles it with colourful veins of Dopplereffekt-ish machine warmth. Not that it goes the whole way down that route though; Early AFX and other Brit IDM textures dress the acerbic breaks, and something of the unhinged majesty of prime period Black Dog coupled with Square Pusher’s boundary breaking approach shines through, illuminating the deeper corners of the tune.

That the IDM influences are stronger than the electro ones is neither here and there. The two genres are often found in orbit together, and the fact is that they compliment each other on Telekinesis Via Fax – IDN’s celestial imperiousness illuminating electro’s spikiness. While it’s a record which will take a few listens before you can fully reach into its hidden humour and grooves it’s also one which’ll reward you for doing so. Experimental electro with a strong sense of self.