2562, Unbalance

Matt-Shlian---seeing-graph2
Illustration by Matt Shlian

[Tectonic]


Buy Vinyl
Buy CD
Buy MP3s

Just a year after releasing his debut album, Aerial, Dave Huismans is back for more with his sophomore long-player under the 2562 moniker, Unbalance. So far the the critical consensus has been that Aerial was overcast and perhaps a bit brooding while Unbalance is chipper and full of color, but those looking for a smile should head elsewhere. Indeed, Unbalance does find Huismans allowing the most color yet into his steely palate, but more than any other dubstep album this year it demands you sit down and listen; there will be time for dancing later. An appropriate title as any, Huismans’ beats are rough and shattered, tipping every which way while defeated synths descend in their own time.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Opener “Flashback” combines perky rotating bloops with tightly shuffling percussion and down-trodden keys. Since synesthesia seems to be the name of the game with this album, there’s a distinct navy blue in “Flashback” while the leaner “Like a Dream” gives off an orange-ish glow, but like Aerial the whole album is shrouded in a thick, pervasive haze that leaves any visuals murky. Every sound is smeared, every beat tumbling over itself and the background is full of noises vying for your attention. Often this works, especially on personal favorite “Lost,” whose smudged vocal loops and delayed keys recall Martyn’s classic “Broken Heart” remix, and on “Who Are You Fooling?” whose drill and bass-like beats temper the detuned, sluggish pads and almost rave-like lead synth.

In fact, it’s tough to single out one track that isn’t enjoyable, a fact that could surprisingly double as the album’s only true fault. Although its mood and overall quality are extremely consistent, by album’s end (particularly on CD, which adds another four tracks to its girth) listeners are likely to feel fatigued with its ceaseless movements and half-tone color palette. Ingested in small bits the tracks carry much more weight, letting you focus on the many elements inserted into each cut. The album centerpiece and title track “Unbalance” recedes into the rest of the album when heard straight through, but its tight syncopations and painstaking attention to detail really jump out at you when heard in isolation.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Those eagerly awaiting further transmissions from 2562 will find much to love in Unbalance, as Huismans updates his previous palates while keeping true to his signature sound, offering much to the techno and dubstep communities in equal measures. Bu should Unbalance have been released as a series of EPs rather than an album? Not necessarily, but don’t be surprised if vinyl copies get more spins than the CD. Given room to breath each tune can be captivating, whereas taken as a whole it can be hard to pick out those great moments without some consideration. The dance music community still seems to cling to the album format and often gives them more weight than the average 12″, so perhaps in this format the tunes are getting the recognition they deserve. It’s just a shame that they have to crowd together to be heard.

Dominic  on November 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM

“Given room to breath each tune can be captivating, whereas taken as a whole it can be hard to pick out those great moments without some consideration.”

Nice observation, Chris, and as a whole Unbalance is at times overwhelming — this is definitely in my top 10 favorite electronic records of the year (I wrote about it here, if you’re compelled to have a look), but I often find myself going back to revisit Lost or something for more than one play, and discovering things about the subsequent track that I hadn’t heard before, because I kind of cherry-picked rather than listening to it whole again. Anyways, great writeup.

Chris Burkhalter  on November 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM

I see what you’re saying about getting lost in the long-play form (“taken as a whole it can be hard to pick out those great moments “). It’s not something I worry about though. For example, I had the same feeling about BJC’s ‘Structure,’ but months later, I find that album has excellent flow, and that its tracks have individual personalities that distinguish themselves. The difference, I think, is familiarity. Over time, as I got to know the tracks and album, the pieces settled into place and everything fit together brilliantly. I think that may be the case with ‘Unbalance.’ Even if that doesn’t pan out, though, tracks like “Lost” and :Love in Outer Space” will secure this record’s place in my collection.

Chris Miller  on November 20, 2009 at 4:19 PM

I hear what you’re saying, Dominic. Some tracks here are more readily accessible than others, and one certainly doesn’t want to leave some of the less immediate tracks by the wayside.

And Chris, you’re probably on to something. More recent listens have left me less fatigued than before, perhaps due to better familiarization with the material.

Blaktony  on November 20, 2009 at 6:48 PM

This is completly beautiful to hear comming from anyone in the dance music community. This could be a return to the album format. After a while your so use to the flow of the LP, that you go back and pick & choose (you listen more closely). Though it is wise to have the 12″ ,it’s clearly a possitive thing to have someone actually “listen” again to these moments in time where we invision a future….Nice work Tectonic & 2562.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Popular posts in review

  • None found