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OAKE - Monad XXIV

Review

Monad XXIV by OAKE

Punishing and rewarding in equal measure

I've seen a trend in Techno music of late towards a blurring of the edges, a diversification, a move away from the functional 4x4 six minute sloggers that you might expect to hear in a club, towards a more gnarly, malformed and terrifyingly exciting hybrid. This new breed of Techno incorporates various styles and techniques, including vocals (which admittedly means it ain't really Techno any longer, I know). In particular I'm hearing more Industrial references — notably the use of a bold contrast between orchestral, ambient or richly textured passages of sound design and thundering drum work - it's a trait that works. I see Roly Porter as type of father figure in this devolved trend, with disciples as disparate as These Hidden Hands, Matt Karmil, SHXCXCHCXSH and Bethan Kellough following in hallowed reverence. OAKE is another group who I'm happy to slot into this specialised list.

Berlin duo Eric Goldstein and Bathseba Zippora, make atmospheric Techno inspired by British post-Industrial acts; it's sometimes challenging but never so austere to repulse. They bring light and shade but mostly the latter. Their new EP Monad XXIV (part of the celebrated series on Stroboscopic Artefacts) displays all the characteristics of the breed. Opening track L’Esclandre is an atmospheric beast with building drums and distorted guitar sounds, bringing to mind the best work of Kangding Ray. A sibylline vocal wavers in the background on Jardin d'évasion introducing a welcome shaft of light. This human element is developed further to rousing effect on closing track Paysage dépaysé. Inbetween, Hélicorde is cut from the default Techno template: tense beats and subtle layers of texture.

8/10 after 12 listens

Tracklist

  1. L Esclandre
  2. Jardin d evasion
  3. Helicorde
  4. Paysage depayse
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