Cosmin TRG: Simulat (50 Weapons)
Cosmin TRG appears to have fully crossed over from the rougher broken-beat dubstep-seque nature of his earlier records into a much more seductive, sleek tech-house sound. Simulat is his first full-length, and turning it out for Modeselektor’s 50 Weapons imprint (which gets busier by the day, pumping out records) makes perfect sense. Cosmin’s approach has been harder to categorize, even as he remains fixed squarely in electronic and dance music. He’s always flirted with the space between heavier-handed broken beat dubstep and more full-on club tracks, but Simulat points to something more introspective and evolved, less immediate. While he doesn’t fully indulge what can sometimes be an instinct to show off multiple aspects as a producer with the full-length format (something that casts a shadow over most first full-lengths for artists previously heard only in 12" or EP formats), he definitely has modified his approach and carved out a much broader area in which to explore. At the same time, these feel more mannered, controlled, almost restrained at times, despite the wider variety. He’s honing his craft much more than the Tempa tracks I first heard from him a few years ago. Instead of the rowdier club tracks of yore, many of these are subtle and take time to sink in and be fully appreciated. There are tinges of Basic Channel techno on “Be What You Want To Be” while elsewhere on “Less Of Me, More Of You” I’m reminded of Caribou’s recent foray into more straightforward dance music, with sequencing that’s loose enough to feel organic without seeming sloppy. The most obvious dancefloor track is “Fizic” which popped up on vinyl a few months prior to the album release, and it falls fairly central in the tracklist. There’s something overall somewhat understated about many of these tracks, and in snippets they may fall a bit flat as samples or previews. But as a whole body of work somehow it all comes together and is quite elegant and satisfying, the reward for Cosmin taking us a few shades deeper than ever before, holding us close while finely tuning the details and perhaps turning down the volume slightly.