Contakt, Nobody Else / Tessera 04

[Icee Hot]

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Icee Hot, San Francisco’s premier stop-off for a UK/U.S. crossover of modern 4/4-and-more touches base with its New York sibling, as TURRBOTAX┬«’s Contakt provides two airborne stompers of a good quality. The label’s format for releases is pleasingly consistent and effective, and seems to always feature two tracks by a fairly new talent, one remixed by a friend and one by a legend. The originals here are duly remixed by Icee Hot’s own Ghosts On Tape and techno deity Robert Hood, this latter contribution lifting an otherwise good EP into the realm of the magisterial.

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In “Nobody Else,” hydraulic synth rushes make for a breezy, coasting turbulence that marries well with a vocal, but as it all whooshes by atop a techno-house pulse, one is left feeling that more could have taken place along the journey, especially considering the remarkable sound of the basic structure here. Icee Hot cohort Ghosts on Tape remixes it, but instead of fine-tuning it into the streamlined jet fighter it was meant to be, they emphasize the jacking Chicago side of things. It’s a familiar feeling, if one that revels in some of its more unusual elements; the layered, gaseous synth of the original is isolated and refocused, while clattering and flatly rolling digital snares give a sense of uncertainly shifting movement and space.

“Tessera 04” drives an upbeat house rhythm into dub-techno dunes, as droning pads rise, fall, and drift alongside more of those sun-bleached, live-current synthesizer stabs, in a tide of regret and gnawing ambivalence. This track is even more devoid of progression, but this time it works more in the producer’s favor, as it becomes a room-heating interlude. Assigned to reinterpret this second track is none other than Detroit’s cinematically evocative machine artist Robert Hood, and he’s a perfect choice given the idea of technological speed that is clearly palpable in Contakt’s material here. What emerges, as Hood lifts the bonnet and replaces the stock machinery with his own homemade, super-charged mods, is a rippling, terrifyingly sleek cyborg warhead, as good as some of the highlights of his recent opus, Motor: Nighttime World 3. Earthenware drum skutter, complexly moving filters, and polyrhythmic digital chord-play: this is Hood at his altar, and it’s awesome to behold. As usual, Icee Hot stamp their vision and enthusiasm vividly onto this release through a mix of expert curation and ever-excellent balance of the untested and well-tried — superb momentum for this young label.

AddRift  on April 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Waiting on this one, love it.

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