Yves de Mey: Metrics (Opal Tapes)
Yves de Mey always seemed to linger on the outskirts of the sounds surveyed by the Sandwell District camp. SD generally released tried and true minimal techno with a decidedly dark edge, but De Mey’s music always struck me as more severe, immersed in those textures and overtones and atmosphere without concerning itself with dancefloor functionality. Metrics seems more grounded in rhythm and cadence than his 2011 Sandwell District outing, Counting Triggers, although it surely builds on similar techniques and sonic ideas. It’s also a better release, in my opinion, with the aesthetic falling much closer to the dark post-punk dub of Raime than anything on SD. Each of Metrics’ four tracks is refined and tightly wound, starting with the gloomy dub of “Box Calsson,” all reverberated bass plucks, industrial textures, and drones. The title track is perhaps the most active of the lot, gradually working up to a hissy, industrial groove at its apex. “Eye Splice” is more sedate, with some gorgeous background overtones providing a counterpoint to the gritty, distorted percussion and bass that provide more immediate surface tension in the mix. Even more sublime still is “Cessation,” a languid elegy in which airy, more musical elements take to the foreground and the grittier, industrial palette that characterized the first three cuts is toned down. Very good stuff, perfect for the wee hours.