Cuticle's techno is sliced into as many pieces as is humanely possible, creating tunes that metamorphose over their course, stuttering in and out with flourishes of silence and ambient haze. 'Mind Holding Pattern' has hints of a dated krautrock aesthetic as well as signs of Jason Urick's influence, while retaining a propulsive rhythm you'd only find in the world of Cuticle.
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- Mind Holding Pattern by Cuticle
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 11 December 2014
From the great purveyors of fringe electronica Not Not Fun we have US techno-esque trio Cuticle’s 2nd LP, seeing them at their most playful. Various sources have been banging on about this ‘techno record’ but that’s a bit of a misnomer - there’s all the laid back brightness that you’d find on a Lone record and a similar level of funky rhythm.
While the aforementioned genre tag relies on moderate-to-breakneck tempos and distant reverbed rasps, Mind Holding Pattern is brimming with melody and grace, the shiny synth layers conversing with chesty percussive basses. It is only when ‘God Still Cannot’ on side A hits that you are subjected to the bleaker ‘tunnel vision’ rhythmic drive of techno, also featuring vocal contributions that flit between the 2 speakers, occasionally twisting into digital oblivion. That’s a point actually, many of the instruments have been sliced enough to renew interest in the groove but not so much to be disorientating, disappearing in the long flurry of delay tails.
That playfulness again! The second side comes closer to a straight Deutsche beat, but just when you start to think ‘this is getting a bit bleak, eh’, a little music box/xylophone emulating layer starts plinking above it all. Some of them I would even call ‘cute’ but Robin will groan and curl up on the floor if he reads that. He’s a punny guy. The tiny trickles at the end of ‘Provocateur of Water’ are the epitome of this, and while they may be slightly overused, they’re a necessary cuteness to help steer this away from the dull. One gripe is the slightly cringey autotune on the final track but luckily it’s rare.
Some tracks here could make it onto early morning sets (if you’re of the mixing persuasion), you know, that post-peak club moment when you want a bit of melody and a lot less intensity. Is ‘cute-techno’ a thing yet? I think Cuticle just invented it.
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