Recommended by us on 9th February 2012.
Right at the start of the year, Planet Mu - the label responsible for some of the foremost electronic albums of 2011 – present already a candidate for 2012’s most questing dance-fuelling long-player. If you gave someone a description of Theo Parrish’s most opiated brown-house excursions and asked them to copy that style without letting them hear it, the result might well come out like ‘Hive Mind’. Of course, it might not too, but it’s a nice idea to turn over, no? Much like the multitude of ideas that turn and twist and tumble and gracefully fold and unfold at length in Ital’s creative vortex. Daniel Martin-McCormick's name has recently and increasingly become known in association with his disco / punk / echo band 'Mi Ami', or as 'Sex Worker' on the Not Not Fun label, or finally as 'Ital' on NNF’s sister imprint 100% Silk, for whom he records a version of house music which is quite different still to the house-inspired sounds that emerge on ‘Hive Mind’. Raised in Washington DC, Daniel has a history in the city's hardcore scene, having been in a band signed to the legendary Dischord label. However, he has always made dance inspired tracks too, but at a very different angle to your average guy with a copy of Logic and a passing knowledge of dance music history. Daniel's music is a stranger thing. Working best at high volume, it uses house’s easy going 4/4 structure as a kind of camouflage for more out-there sonic explorations; subverting expectations, seeking out the links between the space and the sound-bending of dub and industrial’s unsettling sonics with the grooves of classic house and the effects and black holes of minimal at it’s weirdest. ‘Hive Mind’ has a sculptured feel; sounds twist in space, feeling almost three dimensional, and melodies pitch-shift in an unsettling way; voices dissolve in and out of these frameworks and the whole album has a unique, haunted feel; nothing is ever allowed to settle totally comfortably, everything vibrates. Opener 'Doesn't Matter (If You Love Him)' sounds a bit like Tackhead if they had made house music, using a flickering and confidently repeated phrase over a lumbering drum and bassline, introducing swirling and bombing synths into the mix. 'Floridian Void's' strange marriage of treated voices and swelling, pitch-bent chords and effects draws the listener into its strange atmosphere; it’s an ambient house track of sorts, but the ambience here is a swirling, confusing, watery vortex rather than being fuzzy and new age. 'Privacy Settings' builds creepy wolf howls over a slow bassline and cold faraway banging drums, estranged from their usual disco setting. Next, 'Israel' picks things up again, with weird, pitch-shifting edited bells over dubby toms, all the while cold chords rushing in and out over this unsettling backing track. The closer 'Final Wave' restores the album back to something resembling normality, with a disco-like swing that recalls Moodymann’s beat down productions but slid through brutal dub-like FXs that bring out a shade of strangeness in an otherwise happy groove. An entirely, unarguably, and irresistibly essential listening experience.
A. / 01. Doesn't Matter (If You Love Him) B1. / 02. Floridian Void B2. / 03. Privacy Settings C. / 04. Israel D. / 05. First Wave
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