Matt O’Brien: Bloom / Without Warning (Off Key Industries)
Solid minimal techno from Matt O’Brien. “Bloom” is a sweet, slowly unfolding minimal track with a nice melodic touch. Its open and spacious synth phrases remind me of the more sublime, open moments of some of Warp’s old Artificial Intelligence releases (specifically Autechre’s Incunabula), but pinned to a much more typical minimal techno framework. It’s particularly nice when it drops out completely halfway through — though I’d be curious to see how a dancefloor reacted to such use of silence in an extended drop. For home listening though, quite handsome. “Without Warning” is much less melodic, more of an industrial chugger with repetitive stabs and persistent claps. It’s less unexpected than the oddly warm spatial depth of “Bloom,” but they make for a compelling ying/yang of techno nonetheless.