Ben Parris: From Rave to the Grave
Ben Parris keeps a fairly low profile around Baltimore. Like just about everybody else of moderate success in the techno community, he does a fair amount of time in Berlin, which is to techno as Brooklyn is to avant-rock. And, unfortunately, Baltimore is to techno as, say, Miami is to avant-rock. So it goes. In any case, From Rave to the Grave is a predictably solid minimal techno workout of three Parris tracks and one Matmos remix. (Natch: Baltimore electronic heads are wise to band together.)
The two A-sides shine brightest. "Wellsmellingyesterday"--think Matthew Dear/Audion of the smothering, viscous "Noiser"--dives gut-thrummingly deep into bass, delivering sustained low-end pulses that converse well with the track's moody midrange synth tremble. (And, good God, when that sub-bass hits about midway through, be forewarned that you might end up apologizing to the neighbors.) Particularly after a song that abrupt, it's stripped-down A-side partner, "Schmurtisstrasse," doesn't get that exciting for a little too long, but then it gets more than hectic enough to compensate as Parris drops in some "fuck sounds," the percussion picks up a busy wood block, and a funny little synth note bops along with the kick drum.
The B-side is a bit overmatched--we get a mobile bass line and even busier and more dynamic percussion, but not quite as solid--but the Matmos remix of "Yo No Ronco" is worth investigating, adding a some very Matmos textures, odd skips, and a bass line that feels more driving rock than you'd expect from a techno track. A solid EP overall.
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