Obsolete Music Technology, Relapse EP

[Machining Dreams]

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As a resident of Chicago’s South side since 1981, Steven Tang had a front row seat for Chicago’s dance music renaissance. Having accrued considerable knowledge from a decade of DJing and even longer spent collecting his city’s vinyl exports, he began producing his own tracks around 1998 and launched Emphasis Recordings to house them. Tang largely limited his output under his own name and as Obsolete Music Technology to Emphasis, but in 2010 broadened his horizons to release with Keith Worthy’s Aesthetic Audio and, more recently, Hakim Murphy’s Machining Dreams. Obsolete Music Technology’s Relapse EP for the latter suggests that while he’s ready for a change of venue, the aesthetic he’s built up remains more or less the same.

Naturally indebted to Midwestern techno and house, Tang’s influences reveal themselves in his chunky, vintage-sounding percussion and the variety of his drum patterning. On the title track that means stop-start rhythms which, when paired with legato minor chords, convey a sense of uneasiness and uncertainty. In case that’s not the mood audiences are looking for, it includes the melodically shorn “Drum Relapse” as well, highlighting the intricacies of his programming. For me, side B shines the brightest, starting with “Latency.” Its metallic tones evoke the whirring limbs of factory automatons until it sticks on a high note, flinging everything else forward while it hangs in the air. Joined by gaseous pads dragging a beat behind the percussion, the tune courts dancers’ feet and caresses their ears. “End Pass,” the EP’s most straightforward and melodic cut, is immersed in flaring pads and streaking synth leads. Bolstered by a soft but mobile bass line and sparingly used snare syncopations, the track is accessible without sacrificing its sophistication. Rather than breaking new ground, the Relapse EP underscores Steven Tang’s strengths and Hakim Murphy’s perceptive A&Ring.

Blaktony  on January 6, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Deep,space-y,& groovy (nice work).

Lerato  on January 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM

great release

Lola  on January 6, 2011 at 1:38 PM

loved this release from the moment i heard it on hakim’s blog

Amir Alexander  on January 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM

A solid release for Machining Dreams, and a great ep. by Mr. Tang.

Ian  on January 9, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Machining Dreams is on a roll,All four tracks are great

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