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LA-4A: Cobalt (Delft)

LA-4A was new to me with Cobalt, having stumbled onto him by way of checking out a variety of newer minimal techno acts that are flaunting a weird, acid-tinged edge. “Cobalt” is just that, a steady techno number that hangs out in the low- to mid-120s BPM-wise, putting all its eggs in the acid basket with a repetitive, unchanging lead pattern that works as the main anchor for the track. About halfway through, though, there is a nice hazy pad that adds a slightly darker shade to the track. What starts as something quite minimal and spare takes a more fully rounded shape eventually, with a couple layers of synths and the same steady drum track.

“Flare” is a handsome companion, with some wet spring reverb accents surrounding its bone-dry toms and hihats, sort of the more physical, less hooky sister to “Cobalt.” Instead of its predecessor’s plasticine hooks and steady bass pattern, “Flare” instead drums away for the duration with only squawking effects and sounds overhead, no real bassline or melodic hook to speak of otherwise. It’s got some great tracky appeal, though, something that would work really well to keep a floor moving mid-set, a nice DJ tool that has just enough syncopation and variety to enjoy at home. The “Contextual Healing Remix” of “Cobalt” that rounds out the set is a much slower affair, a slightly more enveloped acid treatment but slowed down to about 90 BPM. It has none of the drive or urgency of the original, softening its sharper edges into something more lackadaisical and languid. The real star, of course, is the opener, but I rather like all three together as a collection; each one excels in an area in which the others might be lacking, and as such it amounts to somehow more than the sum of its parts.

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