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- Skana by The Fear Ratio
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Following their excellent 'Light Box' album, UK techno stalwarts James Ruskin (been putting tracks out on his Blueprint label since 1997) and Mark Broom (has been releasing stuff since 1992) return with another Fear Ratio record, 'Skana'. This is a four track EP which sort of expands on their excellent full-length cerebral techno/ electronica hybrid 'Light Box'.
Opener 'Dirty Paws' has a rugged framework of heavy driving beats with lush decomposing chords, lots of hiss and crackly effects and little fills and drops which make it less linear to much of their previous solo work. A track that's a cerebral headphone listen but will equally do the business on a dancefloor at 4AM.
'Fedec' rolls along with a similar palate albeit with a melody you could imagine appearing on an old bleeps 'n' bass tune all wrapped in spooked atmospherics around a throbbing punchy kick drum.
'Skana' is a super deep number with fractured melodies that recall prime era "Artifictial Intelligence" electronica. It's pretty dark and blue, almost gloomy sounding but the melodies elevate it to have a real sense of emotional resonance.
Finally 'Kingdom Of Ends' closes the EP with some superb sound design; a cavernous dark ambient excursion into the nether regions. In some ways it feels like a more maximalist approach to Thomas Koner's isolationist sounds with the icy synths coming to the fore. A very tidy EP indeed and I'd say if you enjoyed the album then you're bound to dig this too.
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