A Sagittariun, The Jupiter Chronicles EP

[Elastic Dreams]

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A Sagittariun pushes the tempo on his first record since 2013’s awesome Dream Ritual LP, with four brilliantly structured tracks that again express an expert appreciation for Detroit techno. A Sagittariun’s freedom and confidence in using all the tools at his disposal is displayed as classic drum sounds pop up halfway through tracks that you thought had already finished evolving. In the anonymous producer’s shrouded hands, nothing is out of date, and the sudden addition of a particularly ravey clap isn’t remotely cheesy, but instead feels as real and exciting as it would have before it became a cliché. There’s a wide angle of influence and inspiration to this record though, with loopy grinds, scattering UK hardcore percussion and menacing Berlin sequencing employed in a quartet of tracks traversing a spectrum of different energies, from visceral rage to mystical sublimity.

Side A’s “Wave Upon Wave” begins with a high speed beat and shuddering rimshots, almost sounding like jit or ghettotech. Its tautness drops a level as indistinct bass smudges bounce around the rigid framework, slackening it into something more like electro, while big, crisp drum-machine snares and white-faced strings are struck in time. There’s skill here in melding together all the different elements: as fluttering arpeggios course through the mix, a heaving, dub-wise bass line and clinking offbeat snare drums (an undeniably British rhythmic combo) enter the fray. “Re-Ignition” barely decelerates, with another slightly misleading intro of computer console whirs dropping into a hard, calloused throb-grind rhythm. Subtly growling bass, with its minute pitch adjustments and soft-filtered syncopation, instills a truly unsettling feeling in your chest, and induces instantaneous perspiration when layered with the beat-thump. As those deadly-steady hi-hats drop in, the picture — frenzy beneath a forcefully restrained surface — becomes thrillingly apparent. This is dark room techno.

The velocity of the orbit gently continues to drop on the flipside, but “Ascella” still provides the most instant dance floor appeal for me. Something of UK hardcore’s rhythmic dynamics, make the whole EP somehow more intricately textured and unsettled than the U.S. records that have influenced A Sagittariun — those of Underground Resistance and Jeff Mills, for instance — and “Ascella” is a prime example. Lower frequencies bed the track on an uncertain, slip-sliding base, and a teasing rise of rhythm peaks, with understated and deadly effective style with the arrival of demonic, chattering synths that could have once been thrashed strings. Finally, with the mood calming at last, “And The Moon Be Still As Bright” shines coldly, casting pale, melodic light over a wandering, stargazing bass line and a gently jacking beat.

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