Numan: Race Against Time (Planet µ)
Planet µ continues to flirt with trends and electronic subgenres with this new one from Numan, which seems to combine elements of IDM, electro, dubstep and more. The A1 title cut is an uptempo broken beat number (recalling some of the more electro-tinged moments of Umek) with arrangements built around harp, piano and bandoneon sounds. It’s an odd juxtaposition of digital instruments against straight up electronic backing tracks, but it works. “Photograph” brings the tempo back down to a more measured house tempo but still relies on a broken beat; it never quite kicks into high gear with a four-to-the-floor. The arrangement continues the juxtaposition of more organic instruments and effects to complement its rhythm tracks, having a laid-back quality more in common with downtempo or IDM jams. “Voodoo” takes things in a different direction, though, built around jerky syncopation and weird percussive sounds, tying in loosely with the outer limits of dubstep and the like; this association is reinforced when a massive bass synth kicks in halfway through to provide a healthy anchor. “XX” continues the dubstep trend with a jerky half-tempo rhythm track and a jaunty square lead. The 2 sides of the record work as interesting counterpoints to one another, one focusing on more straightforward breakbeat cuts and the other veering more into the strange hybrid dubstep world.
Watch/listen: Race Against Time