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‘Ecstasy, Crashing Beats and Fantasy’ is the second record on Diagonal from Cleveland, Ohio’s James Donadio following the ‘Shatter and Lose’ 10” and stuff for Opal Tapes, Digitalis, Mira, Spectrum Spools, Night School etc. I’ve probably said this before but Donadio’s slightly skewed vision of techno feels right at home on Diagonal. For Example ‘Crawl In From Broadway’ stumbles along with minimal acid squiggle and mechanical drums that march along reasonably frantically feeling like they could slip out of time or completely collapse at any given moment. Just when I think I’m in for an almost eight minute exercise in the hypnotic and disorientating effects of little more than drum,s an itchy synth emerges joined by a more cerebral counterpart filling things out.
‘Dollars To DMs’ initially could be mistaken for a Powell Production with drums that sound half “real” and half synthetic. A gurgling spiralling bassline and funky guitar snatch and you have a track that sounds like it was tailor made to be compatible with the Diagonal aesthetic.
‘Lovers Run South Africa’ gets going with simple but sinister bassline and pitched down vocal sample, gradually introducing hand claps, snappy snares and then what I can only describe as a quite unexpected gargantuan twanging sound elevates things into a marching off-kilter jackin’ funker. ‘Side Effects of Living’ is wonked out chopped electro with punchy snares, laser pulses and big warm cuddly bottom end.
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