Thursday, 4 February 2010

A Made Up Sound - Sun Touch/Drain/Untitled [AMUS]

Although his Unbalance album last year was a significant step forward from 2008’s Aerial, which managed to take occasional missteps into clinical austerity, I’ve always found Dave Huismans’ A Made Up Sound material far more engaging than his music as 2562. It’s got something to do with a level of human connection – 2562 seems to act as the home for some of Huismans’ most alien abstractions, all sharp angles and blank canvas synth wash. By contrast, the first 12” on his AMUS label remained defiantly in touch with body movement: ‘Rework’ remains his most direct statement yet, a deft exercise in perpetual motion with an addictive-as-hell central motif that swings like a pendulum across successively busier layers of percussion.

A different beast again, his second release for the label further rewires the circuits of house and techno into something even more elusive. Unlike the current upsurge in producers incorporating more relaxed percussive aspects to their slower tempo tracks, Huismans’ productions rely on precision and pinpoint accuracy – their appeal lies in the chemistry that ensues when that rhythmic tension is played off against looser elements. Despite what its title might suggest, ‘Sun Touch’ is one of his most icy tracks yet, a sparse construction built almost entirely of tightly interlocking elements: music as modern architecture, all sharp angles and translucent surfaces of steel and glass. But in the spirit of futurism, it’s not soulless, playing its cool exterior against barely tangible wisps of looped melody that drift through the superstructure like action potentials.

The same contradiction is also true of the excellent ‘Drain’, which reimagines the urban dissociation of Burial, Scuba and Instra:mental as outright dystopian menace. Sparse save the ever-present mechanistic grind, it stretches out to an infinity of imagined futures. At heart, Huismans comes across as a restless experimentalist. The final ‘Untitled (Shortcut)’ aside – itself a sketch-like version of last year’s ‘Love In Outer Space’ – only the most cerebral of dancefloors would be ready for the future shocks he delivers here. It’s music to lose your mind in.

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