Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Various Artists: EXPANSION | contraction

Various Artists: EXPANSION | contraction

Release Date:2007

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 12/26/2007

So when is Richie Hawtin going to finally contract and disappear altogether? That's not intended unkindly--it just seems sort of logical, the obvious end point of a noble life's work. Not just his, either: As the head of, first, the 8 label and now M_nus (he does adore his typographic symbols), Hawtin has midwifed some striking essentialist techno, including this intriguing new seven-artist collection. But it comes at an odd time. Even among committed technophiles, "minimal" as concept and technique is starting to wear thin, to become generic. Philip Sherburne recently complained on Pitchfork about a surfeit of "material out there that sounds almost as if it's trying to be anonymous, indistinguishable." If minimal was once radical fun, it's become somewhat routine. That's the cul-de-sac nondancers usually take it for anyhow.

EXPANSION | contraction isn't going to change that perception, even if you like it--and there are good reasons to. Dubfire (half of D.C. house duo Deep Dish moonlighting in minimal) offers an agreeably crinkling surge called "Emissions," while Troy Pierce's "Oxytocin" maintains a bumptious little central figure beneath shape-shifting, crosshatching layers of discreet computer noise. And the closing number, "Isolate," by JPLS--born Jeremy Jacobs, who also put out a good little album called Twilite back in May--moves its burbling, pert little bottom end through subtly shifting percussion to give your dancing arms a subtle workout. But when he ends the track with an up-and-out bass bloop, it really does disappear, having made, and erased, its own mark.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter