Perc: A New Brutality (Perc Trax)
Label boss Perc returns after his heralded Wicker & Steel release and remix companions with an EP of brand new material. The title is appropriate even by Perc’s darkest standards, with each of these tracks bringing an especially caustic blend of rhythm & noise. He’s still working within the framework of techno and dancefloor compatibility, but he’s pushing further to the outskirts with hammering patterns and discordant sounds, broken beats and repetitive but less typical pattern-making. The title cut is a machine-gunner, reminding me more of Pan Sonic than any of his techno peers. “Cash 4 Gold” is a brighter companion, but it’s no more accessible, built around a jerky, off-kilter bass-snare pattern and woozy high-end synth pads. Machine skronks and bleeps punctuate the mix, adding to its disorienting vibe. Only “Boy” honors a more predictable techno underpinning, with a nice bobbing groove amidst its white noise snares. When it hits a nice stride it sounds like an update to the chunky industrial dance music of Wax Trax et. al, but it’s the breakdown in the center that steals the show, a beatless segment with a crescendo of noise. “Before I Go” bucks expectations yet again, a drowsy, gloomy closing based around looped piano samples and found sounds, a reflective ending to a particularly surly collection of tracks.