Music Reviews

Mazut: Atlas

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 08 2018
Artist: Mazut (@)
Title: Atlas
Format: CD
Label: BDTA (@)
Rated: *****
The sample of the famous words by American theoretical physicist (known as the "father of the atomic bomb") Julius Robert Oppenheimer, who spoke about his crisis of conscience that justified his refusal to collaborate on the project to make the hydrogen bomb by quoting the well-known line of Bhagavad-Gita syaing "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds", quoted in the title of the opening track of this album, perfectly ignites this good album by Warszaw-based duo Mazut, whose bitterly ironic cover artwork depicts the mythological Atlas, a Titan who was condemned to hold up the sky and the whole planet, while despairing as the planet slipped out of his giant shoulders. The kind of techno, that Pawel Starzec and Michal Turowski (the real names of the guys upholding Mazut) forged by a wide set of drum machines, synths, vintage radio receivers, a 4-track cassette recorder, samplers, a toy keyboard and a truckload of other gears (according to the wide list of equipment they wrote in the line notes), could fit a world blown to smithereens like the one we're experiencing. The nine tracks of this album run fast on the rails of some industrial-tinged progressive techno makers (Terence Fixmer, Derrick Carter, Mount Sims, Metro Area, Underground Resistance) and vague resemblances of some harsh sonorities of EBM (DFA, Bigod 20, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb), where you can feel like travelling on a train getting close to destruction while running at insane speed. Dirty lo-fi acid techno patterns over squealing metals, piercing signals, obsessive thumping and synth-driven engines - I particularly enjoyed the one quoting the brave Canadian suicidal activist Malachi Ritscher, the short but intense "Perverse Incentive", the obsessively menacing "Treatment Resistance" as well as the sweltering tentacles of "make A Threat", preceded by the two minutes of "That's a Razor and You" - the soundtrack for a suicidal temptation? -) are not elements of the usual way of escapism but are savagely anchored to our ferocious reality. Do not eject it out of the CD reader when "Blunted Affect"(the last track) the ghost track you can hear a sort of rudimentary sonic representation of the primitive elements, mirroring the urgency to begin something new through the debris left by the collapse of the world we uncontrollably forged?

Out Of Fuel: Isolation EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 08 2018
Artist: Out Of Fuel (@)
Title: Isolation EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Translation Recordings
Rated: *****
This is the second EP (after the interesting 'Ghost Notes' in 2016) for Washington DC-based label Translation Recordings by the Finnish duo Out Of Fuel. As far as I can understand by listening to this "Isolation", the drops of fuel by which Otto Andelin and Matti Kaivanto fed this new sonic engine are mainly atmospheric. They forged really good and immersive sounds and such a skill sometimes make them forget to handle the rhythmical pattern in a more structured way, as you can hear since the opening "Minus 25", whose masterfully made sound and the whole icy dub-like movement really render the idea of a machine flooded by extremely low temperature, but where the percussive elements manage to make the track a little bit warmer, but without any staggering variation (maybe a choice arising from the paralyzing frost...). We find similar dynamics and configuration on the following tracks "Cabin Fever" and "Chain Reaction", where these guys get closer to the style of some dub techno entries that people like Lars Fenin, Daniel Meteo and Deadbeat were dropping ten years ago. My favorite track is "Hypersensitivity", the one where the catchy atmospherics of the sounds gets intertwined with a likewise catchy and finely crafted rhythmical pattern. The package also includes a very good remix of "Ghosts", where Resound, another knight of Translation Recordings seems to chew acidulous low frequencies and distant smokey reverbs in a rising feverish way.

Eric Maltz: Pathway

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 07 2018
Artist: Eric Maltz
Title: Pathway
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Flower Myth
New York-based Eric Maltz describes himself as a producer and pianist foremost and is a relative newcomer to techno, but from this 3-track 12” you wouldn’t tell. Here are three confident if straightforward bits of gentle techno that sound like they’ve come from somebody who’s been working in the genre for many years- in fact, if anything there’s a suggestion of lethargy and going-through-the-motions about these.

The title track is the strongest, with a simple slightly-sawtoothed synth melody dancing back and forth over a steady groove. 808-ish style rapid clapping and a bassline sounding like low piano notes give proceedings a decidedly late 80’s flavour.

“Ah-Shu-De-Ohu” revolves around some stuttered vocal samples looping round, which personally I’m not that enamoured with, I’m all for stuttering and experimentation but there’s something about this result that just doesn’t grab me. For the first three minutes it feels like it’s building to something, but that something never really arrives.

On the B-side, “Line Through” is a mellower affair of slightly balearic chords and gradually ebbing plinky chords swimming through reverb and delay over a steady-as-clockwork rhythm.

It’s smooth, quite satisfying, but it won’t really stand out in a crowd- a sort of everyday techno.

HMOT: Permanent Imbalance

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 31 2018
Artist: HMOT
Title: Permanent Imbalance
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Oqko
Siberian HMOT’s five-track, 22-minute “Permanent Imbalance” EP has the sonic properties of dark, raw techno- sharp-edged percussive electronic hits, super-short noise cuts, distorted industrial rumbles, EQ’ed hammering and dark synthetic minor chord pads.

But rhythmically and structurally, the title track is anything but 4/4 or DJ friendly. Playing with counterpointed time signatures, sudden drops and abrupt speed changes, on the rare occasion that these tracks do end up forming a techno-esque structure it feels more like coincidence than design.

The other four tracks explore the same tenets but in different recipes. Second track “Dieback Machinery” is on slightly more familiar ground but is still a wilfully obtuse bit of techno seemingly on a mission to catch you by surprise. “No Innocence” is angrier than it is quirky, playing nicely against the slower and more atmospherics-led “Logos”. Final track “Collapse” sounds like the harshest-sounding drum and bass has been triply deconstructed to leave only the fills, the warps and the far edges of the sonics.

It’s considered and intricate stuff with a very solid energy, and if you like your electronica dark and very broken-sounding, this is worth checking out.

Tom Blip: Rez / Crazy Arps

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 30 2018
Artist: Tom Blip
Title: Rez / Crazy Arps
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Paradise Palms
Tom Blip offers up a couple of warm slow house music instrumentals, nicely stripped back.

Toddling along at something like 110bpm, both tracks use SH101 acid noises as a jazzy centrepiece, bouncing quite drolly over a crisp steady walking beat, with a few subtle pads (and, unsurprisingly, a few arpeggios in “Crazy Arps”). “Rez” has the slightly squelchy sound of the two but otherwise they’re a solid pair.

It’s mild, feel-good and inoffensive, potentially a little wallpapery and very Spotify-friendly but well baked for what they are.

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