The Fear Ratio is a collaborative project between London techno DJ/producer Mark Broom and Croydon born techno producer James Ruskin. ‘Refuge Of A Twisted Soul’ is their latest release on Manchester based, independent, electro label Skam records. Combining the Balearic/Chicago and acid house influences of Broom with the hip hop/late 80’s Detroit inspired style of Ruskin, the pair have developed a soulfully heavy album.
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UK techno stalwarts James Ruskin and Mark Broom’s second album as The Fear Ratio sounds custom built for Skam. ‘Refuge Of A Twisted Soul’ has the pair moving even further from the the “pure” techno template in terms of beats, here displaying their Hip-Hop and electro influences with some high quality technofied B-boy rhythms, booming, growling basslines and golden era IDM reminiscent futuristic electronics. Across the album the pair showcase much more dynamic arrangements and intricacy in the construction of the tracks. Relying less on the mesmerising properties of repetition but retaining some of the steely monochrome palate of their banging dancefloor productions augmented with more colourful weird synth action, fragments of vocals etc. although the general atmosphere is deliciously gloomy reminding me occasionally of the heaviness of Mick Harris’ ‘Hednod Sessions’, fragments of Push Button Objects, Coil, Bitstream, Jega, EL-P, Funckarma, Lakker, Aphex and a fair amount of Gescom / Autechre influence is in there too.
Considering the years that have passed and the advancements in technology, this sort of music isn’twhere I’d maybe envisioned it would be twenty years after the blueprints were made and yet it still sounds futuristic to me. And really until we can take a pill and listen to tracks and have them beamed straight into our brains telepathically -- this is where human beings and machines are currently at. What makes this particularly enjoyable machine music is the human emotion they've managed to translate into some particularly beautiful sounds which add moments of personality and warmth which contrast with the colder metallic glitching and crunching. Basically, If you're looking for an immaculately produced record that has one eye looking back to that classic Skam sound and one looking into the future then you’ve found it. Proving I think that in the right hands this style still holds some possibilities. I get the feeling they both smoked the equivalent of their own body weight in weed during the album's creation.
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- Refuge of a Twisted Soul by The Fear Ratio
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