Dave Huismans operates at the cutting edge between genres, bleeding dubstep’s fractured shell into a kind of hyperactive take on modern dance that melds cavernous junglist bass weight to the propulsive perpetual motion of several generations of house and techno. His mix for FACT Magazine was an exercise in how to DJ several styles of music the right way, flitting seamlessly from 4/4 techno pulse to shockingly vibrant broken beats from Hyetal, Shortstuff and Martyn, and his live sets are becoming steadily more fluent in their magpie-like approach.
It’s fitting then that the distance between the opposite poles of his work – the greyscale atmospheres of 2562 and the futurist house and techno released under his A Made Up Sound moniker – is ever decreasing, as aspects from each seep into the other to produce an inseperable hybrid. With the release of his second 2562 album Unbalance coinciding with the first 12” from his A Made Up Sound label, Rework/Closer, the two lines come ever closer together, albeit without ever quite converging.
Is the notion of ‘dubstep x techno’ already passé? Given that his first album essentially defined its crossover, it’s a distinct possibility. More than ever before Huismans is a member of the ‘don’t know, don’t care’ school of producers casually disregarding strict genre conventions for a free flowing, ever shifting aesthetic that makes for defiantly uncategorisable yet utterly thrilling club music. Whilst Aerial was shocking in its cool surgical precision – not a note out of place, nary a whisper of feedback or a delayed snare that wasn’t intended to be just so – Unbalance paints the same picture in vibrant shades of warmth and colour. It proves to be his second album’s defining factor; another run-through of Aerial, vital though it was, would have felt too much like a safe way out. Stunning early 12” ‘Love In Outer Space’ set the precedent – a disoriented, lurching rhythm besieged by whipcrack snares and a furious sense of forward propulsion, the sudden emergence one minute in of a curious melodic duality between silk-smooth and stutter launching it hard toward its namesake.
Similarly, A Made Up Sound’s ‘Closer’ is bathed in a bubbling, ever morphing ocean of synth ripple, rises and sudden drops continually engaging and disengaging with a shuffling, deconstructed beat. In terms of sonics, it’s as unusual as anything on Unbalance, yet bristles with a forward energy often downplayed in his role as 2562. The same is true of ‘Rework’, a phenomenal ascending techno workout that builds, beatless, to a groaning drop that gains then loses layers of sound as though shedding excess clothing.
If A Made Up Sound is currently allowing Huismans to fulfill his dancefloor requirements in the most straightforward way he seems capable of, 2562 has fast become home to his more unconventional abstractions. The result is a collection of tracks that feels less like a compilation of dance music and more like an actual, coherent album. The title track drifts in on a two-minute long wash of feedback that underpins its entire length, shifting menacingly under its ungainly steeping beat before disappearing in a wash of delay that ushers in album highlight ‘Superflight’. Buffeted on all sides by shrieking gusts of wind, Huismans’ delicate synthetic melody somehow manages to stay adrift, buoyed by the thermals generated by an ever-present sub-bass rumble.
The flight metaphor is an appropriate one – throughout Unbalance every individual element maintains a perfect distance from one another as though traveling in a flock formation. Production-wise it’s a fair distance from his closest stylistic bedfellow Martyn’s Great Lengths LP, eschewing that record's warm, soulful vibe for something of a wintry chill. As far as these ears are concerned, that's entirely a good thing.