Recondite / Julien H Mulder, Shift 003

[Midnight Shift Records]

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Come for the Recondite, stay for the Julien H Mulder. Singapore’s Midnight Shift had the simple and effective idea of pairing established producers with relative unknowns on a series of split 12″s — Basic Soul Unit and Eddie Niguel were up first, then Iron Curtis and Ultrademon — but Shift 003‘s combination is especially inspired. Recondite’s in fine form as usual on his two contributions, but it’s the Stockholm-based Mulder that turns the opportunity to his best advantage. With its slightly limping cadence, the scraping shakers and piping, mournful synths of “Borderline” are top-shelf Recondite, turning the foil-covered textures of dub techno to his own moody ends. “Stomper”‘s assembly line of claps, woody burps of bass, and sinisterly restrained hi-hats provide a solid backbone for an unstable, resonant lead that settles like a toxic fog. Just as your attention latches onto the synth, however, the drum machine rears up into blocky, uneven snare rolls, injecting some convulsive unpredictability into the mix.

Recondite / Julien H Mulder, excerpts from Shift 003

The standout inclusion, however, is Mulder’s “Won’t Say Nothing,” whose gloopy electro sounds like it could have been thrown together on a Kaossilator. The various elements fit together cohesively and yet seem powered by magnetic repulsion — getting close, building up wobbly energy, and launching away. Chilly pads slip by each other on slicks of condensation, chasing each other in squelchy, loopy circuits over a drum machine that’s as decorous as it is funky, spitting out woodblock hits, zapping toms, and tuned kicks in calculated lurches. Next is “Old Rutins,” which borrows from Recondite’s more linear sense of motion while filling in some of the negative space with an arsenal of loose-skinned toms and no-nonsense claps. Mulder crashes a growling 303 line into the drums over and over, maintaining some of “Won’t Say Nothing”‘s entropic funkiness, but it’s a different kind of Rube Goldberg contraption. The B-side is an impressive introduction from the unfamiliar Mulder, who has chosen to describe his music — at least in his Facebook cover photos — with the phrase “dark ambient soundscapes.” The stock phrasing doesn’t begin to do justice to the unpredictable, enthralling feel of his tracks on Shift 003 — like an abandoned amusement park where all the rides mysteriously still function, this 12″ is a clandestine and maybe incommunicable pleasure.


Little White Earbuds July Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on August 2, 2013 at 12:03 AM

[…] Electrical Systems] (buy) 09. Jordan GCZ, “Crybaby J” [Off Minor Recordings] (buy) 10. Julien H Mulder, “Won’t Say Nothing” [Midnight Shift Records] (buy)Staff Charts:Brandon Bussolini 01. Redshape, “Bulp Head” […]

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