Producers of dub-derived electronics often have extra sensory perception when it comes to the use of space, silence, and limited acoustic apparatus. Be it Rhythm & Sound slowly eking out a propulsive 10-minute groove from nothing more than static, hiss, and a couple of pads, or the airlock physicality of a Mala dub derived from equally sparse components, the ability to use the absence of sound, rather than sound itself, is often a unifying thread within low-end theory. Brendon Moeller, however, takes a rather different approach to his music. Meticulous, layered, and melodically astute, his slickly virtuoso engineering places him very much at the progressive end of the dubby spectrum, rather than with the low-end system crankers.
Although best known for his rich and layered dub-infused techno, on Works Moeller presents a tougher and more driven sound than expected — far reaching in both musical scope and obsessively detailed nuance. Indeed, while the South African producer has long displayed a tougher undercurrent to even his more cerebral productions, this is his most fully functional and floor-ready set to date, an excitingly widescreen, ambitious, and mature LP. “Welcome” sets the tone jauntily. Bits and pieces come through the ether separately, providing a succinct overview of Moeller’s chosen musical landscape. A couple of reverb-laden chords, some beefy subs, and sparse submarine beeps give the impression of being led to a deep cavern, before “Spice” leads us into the album proper; a pounding, bass-driven slab of techno in which low-down — almost church organ — synths are played off against austere chord progression and very heavy kicks.
“Writing Wrongs” and “Shuttle To Oblivion” are perhaps the only overtly “dub-techno” tracks on display here — gloriously meandering and wonky pieces of neo-classicism, both. “Off The Grid,” meanwhile, is perhaps Moeller’s nod to Berlin, the submerged boom of the kick in combination with a menacing palate of alien arpeggios and filtered sirens, both suggestive of a Len Faki A-side. “Wanderer” is a meaty and propulsive piece of peak-time thump — again, the use of sumptuously engineered clicks and sweeps giving a virtuoso bent to the energetic proceedings. Moeller has created an impressive LP here. And although the progressive vibe may be overly fiddly for some, Works is an engaging 2012 techno LP in which melody, soul, and ambitiously large-scale sound design merge to slick effect.