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Positive
Centre: Nonharmonic Beautifault (Leyla Records)

Mike
Jefford’s Positive Centre project is ironically named if you consider
the quite dark sounds that emanate from within. Indeed, “Blank
Hand,” the 5+ minute opener to this release, feels not only like a
palate cleanser, eschewing any expectations of melody or even groove,
but it rattles, scrapes, and shudders like the end is nigh. It’s a
smart albeit misleading move, resetting listeners’ ears and
expectations; I would’ve expected some dark techno from the onset.
But Jefford eventually delivers just that, with the galloping low end
of “Body Molecule,” a dancefloor-compatible, pitch black track
that would feel right at home in a set populated by kindred spirits
Cassegrain, Lucy, or Plaster (or the entire Stroboscopic Artefacts
œuvre, honestly). On the flipside, “Angular Beautifault” lurches
with a staggered cadence, mechanized and industrial while coarse
swaths of noise threaten to overtake the whole thing but ultimately
defer to the groove. It continues to evolve, with punchy slabs of
rhythm punctuating the mix in its final act.

Nonharmonic Beautifault by Positive Centre

The most overt techno
moments happen in “The Burin,” a track whose distorted, regular
kick is simultaneously enhanced and undermined by a racket of loosely
synchronized add-ons, giving it the effect of afterimage trails as it
pummels away. By the time its wall of hi-hats kicks in, it’s locked
in step as the most reliable and steady workout of the bunch, quite
effective — and yet somehow I think I prefer the more staggered and
less obvious cuts that surround it. Each side has a locked groove at
the end, an extra bonus for those buying the wax; the digital version
includes 30 seconds per groove as an add-on, but those lack the
impact of that indefinite repetition that requires you to actually
physically stop it by removing the tonearm. These pieces work to
complement one another as a dark flirtation with dance music and its
outskirts, likely to appeal to anyone who’s inspired by the less
melodic and more severe side of rhythmic electronic music, blurring
the lines between dancefloor accessibility and industrial strength.

Buy it: Leyla Records on Bandcamp