Music Reviews

Artist: Hüma Utku
Title: Gnosis
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Karlrecords
After putting out releases under the alias R.A.N., Hüma Utku has now come forward with a full album in her own name. Sonically the approach is still the same, in principle- taking the sonic palette of techno and stretching it into darker environments, with thicker rumbling atmospherics and low drones. And that’s absolutely fine, because it works very well indeed.

For most of opener “Vulnerary” and the first part of “Black Water Red”, we get only low gutpunching bass noises and scratchy atmospherics. It’s only part-way through the second track that more elements begin to emerge and a broader techno-scope is revealed, with muted chanting samples and tribal percussion sounds.

There’s a ‘passing the baton’ feel where each track seems to take elements from the previous track and bring something new- the third track temporarily keeps the chanting elements and adds a more upbeat delay-driven rhythmic pulse, as though the first 20 minutes of this release are all an epic build-up to something- though no punch-through or big reveal ever arrives.

“All The Universe Conspires” brings with it vocal pads that up the emotive level. “A Gift From The Dark Ages” brings with it extremely slow bell-like sustained notes that are so slow in developing and transitioning that you find yourself skipping back through the track to check whether the melody really is changing or whether you’re going slightly mad- some slightly screechy EDM tweaks to bring things back in line at the end. Final track “All-one” almost entirely ditches the rhythm in favour of crisp impulsive muted bursts of white noise that feel like a natural deconstruction of the elements, as a conclusion of sorts.

It’s 41 minutes of thickly textured techno and deep dark electronica, frequently arhythmic and broody but not overtly sinister. It makes excellent use of a fairly minimal approach at times, resulting in something that’s captivating in its detail, and not built for casual or incidental listening. If you’re willing to don the headphones, dip the lights and close your eyes for 40 minutes though, it’s a deep sonic journey worth your full attention.

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