Jeez. You wonder off into a haze of jadedness, boredom, and football for a few weeks (months) and when you come back there’s about a thousand things piled up and howling for your attention. I don’t know about you, but when I haven’t been watching the World Cup, or sweltering in the most unScottish heat I can remember I’ve pretty much been listening to Mr De and Erotek on repeat. It’s had an effect on how I see all other music now, but it’s also been a very useful palette cleanser. I’ve got no beer and a really bad headache so let’s get down to deck clearing. Hold on tight, we’re going to move at a clip here.
Historical Repeater – Scientific Calculator (Earwiggle)
First up is Scientific Calculator by Historical Repeater, a collaboration on Earwiggle between Ctrls and Solid Blake that manages to sound exactly as you might expect while consistently stepping past your preconceptions. Essentially, this is the sort of scuzzy, forward aiming, techno that provides a much-needed counter-point to the hordes of identikit and boring sounds currently embarrassing the genre. It’s barbed, groovey, and all fuzzy on the outside. You’d probably expect me to alight on Flashdrive’s growling, industrialized electro stomp, but the real winner here is the expansive, funky, Say Nothing which draws out subtle melodies and a sense of motion from the darkness.
Vertical67 – Out Of The Void (Vortex Traks)
Vertical67 lands on Vortexs Traks with Out Of The Void, a record that builds up some interesting ideas, but unfortunately never quite gets them working together. The result is something bordering on lounge-smooth, although the glimmer of darker mood tends to stop it falling too far into the saccharine depths. Opener Out Of The Void carries it off best by simply keeping the groove locked into a tight snarl and coming up with something fluid, menacing, and noir-ish. Unknown Territories comes close to convincing you that there is still some worth in deep electro with a flair of emotion and vulnerability, but a little to much of the fragility seeps into the groove.
Hissman – Revenge EP (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)
Fabio Monesi’s Hissman Project slams into DABJ at high-speed with a bumping chuckle of warehousey blangers. The Revenge EP is an immediate sugar-hit of noise, distortion, and general oomf that’ll make you feel like the most alive person in the room until the crash comes and you sit in a corner crying. First impressions suggest tracky madness, but really there’s a bit more going on. It’s a bit uneven – Revenge itself, and Forest Wave talk a big game, but are overly content with wobbling around the starting line. Fragment, though, is a solid slice of dirty techno nonsense – a kindred spirit to the Historical Repeater stuff (look upwards!), and the sort of tune that passes for peak time in my fever dreams.
Silicon – V981 (V-Max)
I’ve loved Heath Brunner’s work as Silicon since I first heard him many years ago, but V981 on his very recently reactivated V-Max Records was a difficult one for me to parse. I struggled up and down with it because essentially I’m a fanboi. The fact is I don’t think this is classic Silicon;V981 feels lacking in energy. It’s too well-mannered, and content to use flourish where there should be spirit. Even so, Brunner still has more funk than a James Brown clone factory. Lost To The Void swirls with moodiness and tight, hungry rhythms. Rx17 is maybe the standout, and captures something of the sophisticated electro-grace which made Silicon one of the real stand out producers of the last couple of decades.
DJ Glow Presents Populist – Psychometric Profiling (Trust)
DJ Glow is back on his own Trust label, with Psychometric Profiling and under the Populist guise which he hasn’t used in a while. It’s a likeable EP which gets stronger as it goes on, and there is a feeling of different shades of electro being brought in to illuminate the darker recesses of Glow’s mind. At first it lulls you into thinking it might be a slab of run-of-the-mill acid-tinged breakbeat wonkiness, but as the record unfolds the overarching atmosphere is brightened (and, importantly, darkened when the occasion presents itself) by little touches of drama as the music veers between straight-up modern electro, and something which I guess you could call more Warp influenced: a sheen of IDM which teases out strands of mood and texture from behind the beats. A solid record but the two big keepers are Electromagnetic’s compressed Jovian skank that sounds like the bastard offspring of Chaos and Spesimen, and Simulation City, a tune of clipped Stingray-esque beats and cascading light.
Well, that’s it for today. I’ve a million other records to get through so join me again soon for the next episode of All Work and No Play Makes Jack Question His Life Choices.