Strange Things Are Afoot. No shit; Conforce and Claro Intelecto appearing alongside Chymera on a record. Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for Brendan Gregoriy, the Irishman behind the Chymera project. It’s just that his music, which hovers at the intersection of deep house, prog, and techno, seems rather incompatible with that of the duo responsible for two flawless solo albums on Delsin these past six months. Sure, Gregoriy has done records for plenty of techno labels, Delsin included. He also likes a good splash of melody. It’s just that his tunes have always been far more lavish than the sleek, understated pieces Conforce and Claro Intelecto put their names to. Taken from Gregoriy’s forthcoming album — his second to date — the title track is dubbier than might be expected, but not in the traditional sense. Gliding frictionlessly forward, every element seems to leave its own small contrail of chords behind. From a minute or so in, it’s easy to predict these will accumulate until they reach a critical mass, but even so, the breakdown in which they culminate is intoxicating. Rubbery bass chimes back and forth, forming a big, recognizable hook that carries the track towards home, collecting emotional pads along the way.
Conforce’s remix does away with this motif altogether. Instead, it opens with 4/4 cymbals, splashing like a runner through puddles, and works at splicing in disparate layers of synths. These never assemble into a coherent whole, but his usual sense of contrast, where grimy, winding synths are constantly dappled by crystal-clear drops, keeps things interesting. Claro Intelecto opts for a much more barren approach, peppering his punchy kicks with dense echoes early on. Quickly, however, a church organ-type ambience envelops it all, rising to form the basis of a warm, content mood, which Claro later completes with weary, cascading drum strikes. The three cuts fit together well; someone at the Frankfurt-based Connaiseur Recordings is cleverer than I. I suspect, however, that the skill of the remixers may have had as much to do with this as did inspired A&R. Indeed, it’s hard to recognize elements of the original in either remix. Irrespective of this obscurity, Strange Things Are Afoot is well worth your time.