Matrixxman: Nubian Metropolis (Dekmantel)
Charles Duff’s latest for the Dutch Dekmantel label is a nice minimal burner. “Sermons” kicks it off, and it’s the clear star of the show here. By that I mean it’s certainly hte most accessible and most generally mix-friendly of the bunch, able to plug into a more minimal or more lively techno set with relative ease. Its big, fat, angular bassline and punchy kick remind me of the later club mutations of Martyn, unafraid to embrace the dancefloor but not without a little bite. The progression from its smooth pad and square bassline to the more minimal sounds of subsequent tracks is not necessarily subtle, but it’s well played. My favorite of the bunch here is “Siamese Twins.” I didn’t care for it so much at first, because it’s by far the most stripped down track here, with dry, thin drums and a stark pad, with next to no bassline at all. It goes against the grain of everything about big stadium EDM and club anthems, and I love it for that — a healthy reminder that less can indeed be much more.
The scientific bleep of “Cybernetic Implant” reminds me of the stripped down jams of Daniel Bell or the crude minimalism of L-Vis 1990, while “System Blackout” has a slightly darker edge about it, with undulating hypnotic patterns and flanged rhythms. The contrast of full-bodied synths and big basslines with quite thin, dry drum tracks, though disorienting at first, is actually quite effective. Highly recommended for fans of more minimal jams, tightly wound and nearly perfect.