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|12 December 2013||
Steven Porter / DJ Nobu - Bitta002
It's been somewhat of an inside joke that Katsunori Sawa is a bad influence on Yuji Kondo. Once producing high-blooded, adrenaline-inducing, and completely decimating blend of techno though labels such as Genesa, Kaputt, and Perc Trax, Kondo has gradually shifted towards much more tamed, substantially decelerated dub techno and drone compositions that he has been releasing under his own name, as well as in cooperation with Sawa under the employed alias Steven Porter, publishing the efforts on duo's own 10 Label, Weevil Neighbourhood, Sludge Tapes, and now, DJ Nobu's maintained label Bitta. And as much as we would hope to see Kondo going back to that "Golden Haze" type of sound, it seems that he (much as the whole techno scene after the '00s), has opted to abandon the high-energy vein and reaffirm himself as an experimental producer whose tracks from now on will lean towards the unconventional, rather than radical type of electronic music.
Leading with heavily bass-accentuated, galloping kicks, 125 BPM-paced side A establishes low-range oppression as its main axis and spins from there; subtly delayed, dichotomized and eerily-ticking 4/4 hats quickly join in together with slightly subdued shakers, and as they do, the gradual introduction of percussive elements is effectively finished. Mimicking the hopeless, faint outcries of broken souls, the synths arrive in an anxiously bleak manner, mercilessly affected by distortion that enhances the dystopian feel that they clearly were meant to evoke, being grazed in mid-range by the gnarly stabs and resonant bells. While Canadian Bellfield's peaks are characterized by numerous, richly-textured noisescapes that rise in volume alongside violent, but not outrageous distortion levels, the tumultuous affair ends much in the way it started—a single pattern of kicks that retreats over time, as a gargantuan beast that languidly returns to a cave after a spree of bloodlust-induced, intemperate destruction.
B side, on the other hand, sees a completely different approach being utilized, even though the tempo stays the same. An uneasy, Kubrickean atmosphere persists through all 8+ minutes of this seemingly calm at first, but progressively more unnerving piece which starts with unyielding, cosmically cold mid-range oscillation that runs in hand with cascading arrays of subtle 2/4 kicks, and then proceeds to independently arising and retreating ghostly ambiances, a chirping, semi-metallic loop that pans through the channels every now and again, disappearing in the fog of the backdrop, and an oppressively bothersome synths whose intensity and distortion levels gradually increase, raising the agitation which eventually peaks at a second half and boils for a few minutes, letting Untitled calm itself down after that—albeit very resistantly.
To outline the general critique it should be pointed out that A and B don't make the best pair stylistically, A side being a relatively club-friendly tool while Side B in context of the same environment would only be of any help if used as an opener, and even then, it would be quite an unwelcoming start to set off to. Still, there is a degree of resemblance; a bleak and gloomy tone that the two undoubtedly share makes for a good point in support of that.
Release Type: Single
Release Date: 12 December 2013
Release Format: Vinyl
Record Label • Catalog: Bitta • BITTA002