“South Down” by Loci
With his expansive On Acid album still ringing in our ears, it takes a second to readjust to Recondite in a more goal-oriented club setting. The way the German producer prodded the much-abused 303 into freshly affecting shapes on his Acid Test entry was so emotionally bracing it left the supporting cast out of focus. But with “DRGN,” the A-side of his new single for Hotflush, the tempo is back up and these embedded structural elements reemerge. What he’s up to here is adapting the blueprint that guided his Plangent EPs to a darker hue.
Recondite’s crenelated hi-hat programming is an immediate link to his back catalogue, but in other respects, “DRGN” pushes away from wistful deep house and toward endless mindfuck techno of the Prologue variety. But the difference is more about tone than structure: its melody is limited to a few sustained synth notes warped by LFOs and its surface is smeared with bitcrushed soot, barreling claustrophobically toward the light at the end of the tunnel. “Wist 365″ is a more illuminated ride, although it, too, is more reserved than usual for Recondite when it comes to tugging heartstrings. Chattering, anally precise shakers and the odd, abrupt cluster of tom hits give way to a swirling galaxy of wind chimes in the first half before Recondite puts things back on a more functional track. It lacks the unresolved tension that gives the A-side drive and mystery, opting for passenger-seat window gazing and weary prettiness, ultimately leaving us longing for the dramatic curves and swells of the album. Recondite’s back to operating under different, less easily described constraints; this release adds more shades to his already robust arsenal of grays.