René Audiard, Pechorin

[Supply Records]

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For its first full-length, Boston’s Supply Records continues to keep operations close to home. Following on two outstanding EPs by founders, B-Tracks, the label’s new recruit René Audiard is in fact Soren Jahan, one half of that duo. The use of an alias here makes sense. Although those EPs were occasionally dubby, Pechorin is considerably different, as it’s more or less a full album of dub techno. Dub and its associated effects have long been techno mainstays, but it’s no secret the genre itself has fallen out of vogue. Its detractors have a point. The dub techno blueprints drawn by Basic Channel were incredibly refined, and their propulsive minimalism has helped them stand the test of time. In their wake are countless copyists and misinterpreters, riding endless delay trails to bloated excess, marked with the same sleepy, middling rhythms and brooding organ stabs.

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It doesn’t bode well when those organs, cut to match rolling subs, show up early on “Doctrine,” Pechorin‘s opening track. Similarly downcast atmospherics are prevalent throughout the looping intrigue of “Nowa Huta” and the gray-scale “Recreation,” and it’s initially easy to say one’s heard it all before. What saves most of these tracks, however, is the same thrust that underlines B-Tracks’ catalogue. “Nowa Huta” may not offer new sounds, but when it needs a boost Jahan smartly deploys a series of riled-up synth blasts to push it out of monotony. On the stoically pulsing “Landscape,” which has plenty of motion to begin with, he gradually adds delays to the stabs until they reach a critical mass, and then filters the ensuing avalanche as a kind of breakdown. The outlier “Contract” finds Jahan merging the other tracks’ squirming, molten undercurrents with bright arpeggios and an anemic melody, harkening to Mathew Jonson’s work in its pace and psychedelic tinges. Pechorin takes dub techno into some new realms, though it remains fairly staid in its palette. Even so, it’s a quick and dynamic listen, as Jahan is continually finding ways to refocus on his grooves. After years of mind-numbing plodders, it’s heartening to hear a producer try to put the techno back in dub techno.

al blayney  on August 22, 2012 at 2:59 AM

What a class release!

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