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Robust EP – David Thornton (IOSYS010): Reviewed

Here comes a seven (yes count them) track remix package from David Thornton (one half of InnerCystem and co-founder of the Resonance club night in Birmingham) on the accomplished IOSYS label. I’ve reviewed InnerCystem’s excellent productions before but this was the first time I’ve heard David’s solo material, and what a pleasure it was. Enlisting heavyweight remixers from the Birmingham scene and beyond including Jake Conlon, Siege, James Jaymal and Retsof, the release is a fantastic example of a quality original getting a really diverse range of re-interpretations.

The original mix sets the tone for this powerful release, with its relentless machine groove. A pounding sub line and booming kick underpin the dark and jacking melody, perfectly balanced with surgical, clipped percussion. The breaks are classily done – bitcrushed sounds dying slowly away before slamming back in full force (and with added bass, and hissing hats). A filtered and distorted vocal sample adds drama to the latter part of the track, and the overall impression is all fizzing and glowing circuits in side some brutal electronic machine.

Adverse Event is first up on the remix, taking a robotic direction at the top, with a sparse industrial bottom end. This version keeps the jacking danceability of the original but has a completely different angle, winding up the tension with chattering percussion. The track is filled with mini-breaks and variation but never sounds contrived or overly complex, and oh, when that vocal sample kicks in…

BLAP brings a more straight ahead interpretation, building the groove expertly from the original elements, and adding tension by slowly introducing new elements as the track progresses. This is a classic, heads down roller that will keep any floor moving. Jake Conlon’s take feels at once faster, deeper and more menacing with a stripped back bassline and cyclic, breathing static leading the way. Again there are industrial overtones, and melodic notes pan around the listeners head and clipped percussion provides razor sharp timing. Great finish too!

Next up James Jaymal, this mix has more bounce and even more jack than the original and the Adverse Event mix, and makes more of the melodic elements, lush synth notes fading in and out, and filtered notes with a fantastic touch of dub raising the mood. A word also on the complexity and precision of the percussion here, placed almost as a lead instrument in some parts of the track. Good use of filtering and fx weaves everything around and holds the attention until the synth-led end.

Straight into heavy territory with the Retsof version, menacing sub bass, a deep, slowly panning melody and cracking, flattened kicks making sure you know exactly where this is going. There’s the industrial touch on the percussion again, and a tapping (woodblock?) sound that sets things off very nicely. Finall the Siege edit, which opens with seriously weighty kicks, again with the dubby overtones on the single, repeating melodic note, and a fantastic industrial pecussion line, full of clipped notes made surprisingly funky. Great breakdown work on this version too, short and to the point. We are back with the jack again!

In summary, any of these versions will get a great reception on the floor, and the diversity is such that you could easily play two or three of the versions in the course of a set to really get inside the listeners minds – have I heard this before? Is it just me?

The EP was released on 2 July 2017 and is available from the IOSYS bandcamp page here:

Reviewed by Stringer

  • Stuart ‘Stringer’ Ingram
    Stuart ‘Stringer’ Ingram
    Reviews & Interviews - stuart@seanceradio.co.uk
Stuart ‘Stringer’ Ingram
Reviews & Interviews - stuart@seanceradio.co.uk

Stuart Ingram aka Stringer is a Manchester based DJ/Producer. His focus is firmly on techno, with a preference for dark, hypnotic and industrial sounds, but he also takes influences from electro, house and jungle. Stuart contributes interviews and reviews for Seance Radio as well as Death Techno.

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