Donato Dozzy & Tin Man, Acid Test 09

[Absurd Recordings / Acid Test]

Tin Man and Donato Dozzy kicked off Absurd’s Acid Test series three years ago with the former’s Acid Test 01. Dozzy’s remix of “Nonneo” topped year-end lists back then and retains its luster now, a defining moment for a run of releases that also includes milestones like Recondite’s On Acid and sneak attacks like Pépé Bradock’s Acid Test 07. Acid Test 09 is a different experience from any of those, and not just because the duo are collaborating directly — the context for this kind of this has also changed. Both producers have steadily accumulated even more attention and critical respect in the intervening years, and this 12″ isn’t under pressure to prove anything in particular. Each of its three tracks finds the producers playing to their strengths with a leisurely attitude: Tin Man provides brooding, quicksilver 303 lines that hang and soar, and Dozzy provides an unmistakable, if less directly perceptible, hypnotic whirlpool effect.

“Test 7” has the most forward thrust here, but it’s comparable to only the mellowest moments of Tin Man’s Neo Neo Acid LP. Through a stiff, creaky kick-and-rimshot rhythm, it zooms in on an elegant, choked-up bass line that’s familiar enough at this point, as is the cosmic background radiation of attenuated pads. What’s new is the way Dozzy exerts his particular gravity in this environment. It’s hard to put your finger on his contributions specifically, but he seems to attract and group euphonious artifacts in shifting, lumpy subliminal configurations. There’s a surface-level stasis to all of these tracks, and their interest derives from the feeling that something not fully articulated is lurking just below the surface. But neither producer is obvious enough to bring that to the fore, relying instead on the middle gaze between trance and active listening. “Test 2” and “Test 3” forgo the drums altogether, relying on the internal rhythms of its twining bass lines and the power of suggestion alone. Few will claim Acid Test 09 is a revelation, but this 12″ delivers on Acid Test’s mission statement beautifully.

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