Lucy & Xhin: LX2 / LX3 / LX4 / LX5 (CLR)
Stroboscopic Artifacts partners in crime Lucy and Xhin teamed up for these two collaborative EPs on Chris Liebing’s CLR imprint. Both artists tend to paint outside the lines when it comes to techno, veering into less predictable territory where the 4/4 kick is no longer sacred and atmosphere reigns supreme. Xhin’s last album in particular was pretty far out of bounds of techno, tending for weirder sounds more akin to Autechre. Given the reputation of CLR in the past, though, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve hunkered down and crafted a series of intense minimal techno tracks. The combo of LX2/LX3 is probably the better of the two releases, with both tracks locked in step with a 4/4 kick and some pretty menacing sounds. “LX2”’s white noise rushes and crinkly stabs of sound make it my favorite, but “LX3” has a nice, intense layer of wailing oscillators overhead, sounding like an alien call to arms. “LX4” has a staggered kick, sounding more aligned with each artist’s solo material, but it still has the necessary propulsion to make it work on a dancefloor. “LX5” has a bouncy low-end drum track that pushes it forward, a nice chuggy groove that’s hard to resist. Overall all four of the cuts are quite excellent, with the earlier release only slightly edging out the later in terms of what I like more. It’s nice to hear artists continuing to push quality techno that eschews any melody whatsoever and aims for pure physicality through percussion and noise. To that end, they’ve succeeded here wonderfully.