Aardvarck, Nubian

[Rush Hour Recordings]

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Over the last two decades, Dutchman Mike Kivits, alias Aardvarck, has proven himself as an extremely prolific producer, capable of prompt and adept shapeshifting within a complete gradient of styles ranging from Detroit techno soul, continually processed bruk to even futuristic, smoked-out versions of inventive hip-hop beats. He is known in many circles as a diverse and refreshingly unique craftsman, but with this year’s releases, he has set himself an enormously high quality standard even within his own back catalog. After releasing a seriously heavyweight and beastly EP on Skudge Presents, Aardvarck continues to exhilarate listeners with two new tracks that glow with intense atmospheric detail and revolve around crunchy rhythms.

The title track begins with a confident “Nubian!” cry and a massive thump, predicting an unpleasantly sinister outcome. While the irresistible breakbeat techno groove conveys the impression of cracking up at any moment, wasp-like waves of grinding bass lines and gliding strings provide a background for a climactic reverberation of the all-in “Nubian” shout. The composition seems to pump its madness from this vertiginous voice and its uncertainty, allowing each element to dive in or out freely; and combined with a relentlessly busy bass line, it simply doesn’t let up. “Pigg Todd U So,” faster and tighter in arrangement, picks up where the first one left: further hybridization of styles and simultaneously more referential to the past. Clocking in at 132 BPM, it manifests an unconscious impulse to reflect and simultaneously play upon ambiguity, as if Kivits were trying to archive certain moments of his personal dance history in under five minutes: ominuous, staccato techno stabs, IDM highlights and boosted broken-beat schematics. Although rhythmically busier than its predecessor, it lacks the intense maniacal mood of “Nubian.” Whether or not listeners get down with these efforts, both tracks feel as if they were on the brink of an explosion, deliriously hinting at ashes that lie at the very end of the blast. They certainly present a brutal step forward for the Dutchman, expanding his production expertise further into the unknown while still retaining a solid sonic identity. His vast knowledge of beat-oriented electronica has been put to its best use here, leaving us in awe and greatly anticipating his next moves.

Joseph Hallam  on October 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM

One of the best releases this year!

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