Distance, Reboot

[Tectonic]


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Distance has been applying industrial metallic textures to his bleak and foreboding productions for over half a decade. One of the “school of 2004” dubstep originals, his sound has always been cut from a rather different cloth, subtly referencing heavy metal while retaining an elephantine groove. He has released a number of tracks on Tectonic in the past, the pairing making perfect sense as both label and artist have displayed a steadfast dedication to continued exploration of the 140-BPM tempo range. Here, he unleashes two monolithic slabs of concave audio, suited for testing the big stacks.

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First up is “Reboot.” A stuttering, incessant synth snarls around a booming sub pattern, but the propulsive motion comes from the absurdly prominent snare, lashing across the mix with all the subtlety of a drunken headbutt. There is a pleasing late-90s tech-DnB reference to the track, the sharp Reese stabs evoking memories of vintage Ed Rush & Optical or Ram Trilogy. “Reboot” runs the difficult gauntlet between sophisticated aggression and outright vulgarity, and wins. Although high-octane, it never sounds over the top or grating.

The same cannot be said for “Bezerk,” unfortunately. The metal influence comes to the fore to such an extent that the end result is a furious adolescent snarl, displaying neither charm nor dexterity. The combination of swirling guitar samples, chopped nu-metal drums, and a one-word tribal chant low down in the mix comes on like something Machinehead might warm up with in a dank Oakland rehearsal studio. And while Distance has applied the metal influence with admirable restraint in the past, to these ears, this groove-bereft workout is a step too far. All said, it’s exciting to see Pinch release music like this on Tectonic in 2012. Cresting after a well-received Fabric mix and last year’s stellar — and incredibly assured — LP with Shackleton, it would be all too easy for the label to tread a more polite path at this juncture. This 12″ comes at such a time to assure that Tectonic — and Distance — remain more willing than ever to stick to their subloaded guns with ferocious intent.

Steve  on February 17, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Disappointing release. I actually prefer the B side, although I can’t say that I like it too much.

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