On his first EP for Belgium's Token label, Xhin takes an unexpected foray into deep—Ha, I almost had you there. Fear not: The Stroboscopic Artefacts regular remains as committed as ever to dark, churning techno. What separates his work apart from so much grey-scale fetishism is his unconventional rhythmic approach. There's nary a four-to-the-floor kick to be found on any of these tracks, which instead favor galloping, sometimes bewildering cadences. Where he comes close to a straight-four beat, as on "Through the Lines," he deftly accents the downbeats to knock the groove off balance.
On "Asymmetrical Four," the snare provides the steady pulse while kick drums and metallic accents explode like shrapnel around it. Where "Asymmetrical Four," "Through The Lines" and especially "The Realm" are too brutal to make much sense outside of a club, the opening "Elliptic" is essentially an ambient track, albeit one with a shuddering, 128 BPM pulse of resonant low toms. The tension between the luminous pads and the contorted, distorted drums feels like a riddle to be solved, pulling you deeper with every elliptical cycle.
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Tracklist: Xhin - The Realm EP A1 Elliptic
A2 Asymmetrica Four
B1 The Realm
B2 Through The Lines