You know what they do down in Tresor. They do techno. Psyk does just that here on his second full-length album, brought into the world by the label arm of Berlin’s Tresor. Psyk is working at a high level here on A Moment Before, with tight control over stripped-back material. Nine tracks over four sides of vinyl.
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Rather predictably, I’ve been somewhat hypnotized by the latest Tresor emission - the second album from Spanish producer Manuel Anós, bossman of the Non Series label. This is his second record for the Berlin techno institution, following his ‘Works’ EP back in 2015. His previous album and indeed a number of EPs have come out via Luke Slater’s Mote-Evolver label. Those are well worth sniffing out if you dig stripped back, mesmerising minimal techno. I was kinda expecting ‘A Moment Before’ to be pretty minimal and I suppose it kinda is, but it’s more than just a collection of functional DJ tools and there’s a pretty broad and vibrant sound palette on display across nine cuts.
Sure, the tracks are designed as DJ utilities to a large extent but it also serves and functions as an album to play from front to back. Opening with obligatory mysterious suspense inducing untitled intro track that has a similar spaced out atmosphere to that running through Sandwell District’s ‘Feed Forward’ album. Then we plunge into the solid, tunnelling ‘A Moment Before’ which thumps, fizzes and sizzles as it snakes along. ‘Grain’ recalls Rrose’s recent re-interpretations of classic Richie Hawtin eerie minimalism as Plastkiman. Pulsating, plasmic techno oozer ‘Deep Breath’ could almost pass for a Mike Parker production. Meanwhile, ‘Waves’ is somewhere between the trippy bleeping of mid-period Function and early Sähkö Recordings and the synth that sounds like pure electricity that runs through Planetary Assault Systems gem ‘Surface Noise’. Again, I’m reminded of Plastikman on ‘Acid Test’ which isn’t surprising as it’s quite possible that Anós’ artist name was born from the title of a Plastikman track. Regardless, it’s a great trippy rubbery squelcher destined to deplete a few brain cells. I suspect it’s no coincidence that Plastikman released a track entitled Pannikattack on the flipside to ‘Sickness’ on Plus 8 in 1997 and here we get a track called ‘Panic Attack’ which evokes a similar woozy, disorientating feeling. ‘Peace of Mind’ is superbly creepy as it gurgles along before snappy electro closer ‘Artemis’ is the albums most melodic moment and wouldn’t be out of place on one of Inigo Kennedy’s records for Token.
Despite the fact that I’ve mentioned loads of artists these tracks sound like or may be inspired by, Psyk takes those blueprints/templates and injects them with his own style and production finesse making for a really enjoyable album that I keep returning to and cranking up as loud as I can get away with before my family, AKA the Sound Police whinge at me to turn it down. Losers.
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