Tin Man, Underdog EP Pt 2


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He might rely on classic analog machinery, but Tin Man is usually too weird to be a traditionalist. It’s a bit strange, then, that he’s really hit his stride working within the boundaries of acid house, first on his Acid Test 01 12″ that introduced the offshoot label two years ago, and most notably on his slept-on Neo Neo Acid full-length. Where the curdled, organic contours of Tin Man albums like Wasteland and Cool Wave conveyed an icy, exhausted alienation, working within a pre-established formula gave the Vienna producer’s music some new legs. The Underdog EP Pt. 2 isn’t officially part of the Acid Test series, but it has the same leisurely gait that makes those records effortlessly absorbing.

“Swarm” unsurprisingly refers to the nauseous, insectoid pads that either rip through the track’s fabric or comprise it. Under the noise, it’s pure, unrushed acid, Tin Man style—smooth 303 hiccups weave into and out of themselves in loping waves of tape delay, set into a drum machine that strides like a celestial giant through the night sky. An FM bell sound peels away from itself in the distant background, foreshadowing the disjunctive “Hack,” which looks back to a different phase of the Tin Man discography. This time, it’s the chunky sample house of, yes, Sample House. Its misfiring samplers are distractingly choppy at first, but those staggered hits create an engrossing moire pattern when the listener steps back. “Rocky” more or less splits the difference between the two kinds of coherence, a plastic kick leading the long-building track that succumbs to a low-pass filter before it really has a chance to say its piece. Underdog EP Pt. 2 might be more of an exercise in style than a standalone statement, but it’s a workable summary of Tin Man’s appeal as a straight-up dance producer.

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