Painting by Dave White
In some way, Ital’s albums and live performances have ended up overshadowing his shorter releases. They aren’t necessarily better, but they’re much brasher. It can be easy to forget the trippier, more surreal Ital of 2011, before he went all information-overload. Luckily for fans of those early releases, Daniel Martin-McCormick’s first release for seminal German imprint Workshop revives that palette.
If there’s anything that ties Ital’s sides together, it’s a lack of polish. Martin-McCormick leaves in clipping, and probably doesn’t spend hours EQing his kick drums either. There is a recklessness to these tracks, but it is countered by eerily tranquil atmospheres. “Ice Drift (Stalker Mix)” lives up to its title, as it is pervaded by a crystalline, synthetic paranoia, which lingers anemically behind stuttering drums. “Pulsed” has a fuller sound and moves at a brisker clip. It is propelled chiefly by galloping drums and wiry lead line, but an odd, gray glow still hangs in the back corners. “Slower Degrees of Separation” is comparatively formless; its rhythm is more of a shudder than an actual beat, and its chords swoop in and out of clarity. All of the tracks here are somewhat formless, though. As is his wont, Martin-McCormick eschews typical dance music structuring, and this especially enhances Workshop 18’s uncanny, slightly sinister aura.