Tazz, The Adventures of Tazz

[Tsuba Records]

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Judging by his EPs on Underground Quality and Tsuba Limited, one wouldn’t necessarily peg Tazz as much of an album guy. The Montreal producer operates firmly on the tracky side of things; he’s cited old Carl Craig and Luke Slater techno productions as influences, and his sound frequently veers in a punchy house direction as well. He may make tracks, but they’re typically exciting ones, taking the big-room drama of mid-90s techno and filtering it into pieces that feel inherently spontaneous. The Adventures of Tazz, Tazz’s debut long-player, is redolent of all of this, less a grand statement than a series of individual, self-contained ones.

As hard as it is to pinpoint a precise precursor to his style, the LP is an entirely coherent listen, largely because of its uniform palette. A lot of stuff that gets referred to as “raw” usually has some tape hiss or lo-fi effects, or works with rudimentary structures. The Adventures of Tazz is neither, instead deriving its rawness from the seeming lack of treatment to its elements. Each track sounds completely fresh out of the box, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on how much you want to hear the “ghost in the machine.”

Even the tracks’ straightforward titles are reflective of this approach, more often than not doing what they say on the package. On “Worked It,” Bacanito, a frequent Tazz collaborator, shows up to presumably lace the track with its array of glossy, dextrous, interweaving synth lines. “That’s What ‘It’ Said” is a linear, dubby, late-night mover, maybe the most delicately simple piece here. “La Salade Techno” is a heavily bumping, squelchy workout, while “Wobble Theory” (featuring Giovanni, his other main collaborator) moves between lushly filtered pads and bleepier sounds with surprising grace. This emphasis on arrangement characterizes The Adventures of Tazz above all else, and is its strongest aspect. The album ends up being an earworm because it’s so clearly rooted in dancing, as its tracks are sequenced with all the intuitive, tricky energy of a skilled DJ set.

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