Future Beat Alliance: Grey Summer (Tresor)
Why I’m only stumbling onto Future Beat Alliance now, I’m not entirely sure. The caliber of these two extended techno tracks makes me feel as though I’ve missed out on Matthew Puffett’s talents, with a full-length and slew of 12"s behind him already. This new one on techno anchor Tresor kicks off with a straight up techno burner. It’s both familiar and exciting, drawing on many of the elements that make techno what it essentially is, utilitarian and physical. But Puffett’s production skills and knack for providing a narrative arc shine through with perfection, and it builds and grows til the halfway point where suddenly a crisp, clear sense of melody and bassline kick it up a notch. Pads and synth leads add a layer of melancholy edge, with more than a tinge of 3rd wave Detroit coming through in the final stretch. It suits the title well, a high-energy summer day obscured by grey clouds. The other track “Regurgitate” is not quite as powerful, beginning more as it means to go on, with stereophonic chords that ought to sound familiar to anyone acquainted with the various facets of dubby techno. Still, Puffett’s layering of sounds in stereo with snare rushes, syncopation and effects lend this a certain flair that elevates it above common, even good quality, techno fare. Both cuts are extremely strong and likely to be fixtures in my summer listening, tempering the sunshine with a bit of dark haze.