After five EPs worth of training, the duo of Jay Ahern and Stefan Schneider is finally ready to make their full-length, ‘proper’ album debut. Hauntologists self-titled debut drives relentlessly forward, pushed by the analogue machines they use to make their murky techno. Released on a label of their own devising: CD has two more tracks than the vinyl.
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7/10 Laurie Staff review, 10 June 2015
Hauntologists is the spooked-out collaboration between Stefan Schneider of To Rococo Rot and Jay Ahern, focusing on repeated rhythms played on technological machines. I’m gonna ignore the whimsical ramblings about ghosts and the typical European mythologising of Africa in the press release and sum it up for you - it’s a techno record.
Yes, they succeed in creating primitive cycles of drums and synth stabs on this self-titled release, their debut LP following a string of 12” records on their own label and Modular Cowboy. The chugging shifts fairly subtly, as is often the case with improvised dance music - get some sexy loops going, move between them, have a boogie. Synthier additions come without much discernible melody, just weird out-of-key bleeps and acidic bass womps but it definitely places the music on an uneasy vibe, but still infectiously danceable. I can see how they’re trying to imitate instruments like kalimbas here, throwing polyrhythms all over the place to get tribal.
Some great plucked string stuff gets involved at ‘Hush’ over a straight, non-squelchy bassline that’s pretty damn fun. But otherwise, you’ve got a record of slightly smart hypnotic machine grooves that do make you want to move and also look behind you in an paranoid animal frenzy.
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