That BNJMN's work to date has been so all over the place, in terms of tempos, timbres and rhythmic signatures, makes this white-label 12-inch for Rush Hour feel special. It's a three-track meditation on life above 130 BPM, and, beyond that, it's uncharacteristically raw and restrained for the British producer. There's no YouTube aliasing, no galumphing compression; it's all about clean lines and unvarnished machines. At least, it begins that way: "Minus One" kicks off the record with crude, hissing drum-machine patterns at a lickety-split 140 BPM, overlaid with faintly spooky synthesizer lines; it feels awkward and a little bit stunted, like some attempt to filter early Autechre through a sieve, and yet it works.
"Shadow" sticks to the tough, dry drum machines and the sad, wiry melodies, but there's just the slightest degree of extra depth; it's a melting pool compared to the brittle icicles of "Minus One." "Unrest" is the EP's fullest track, with ruminative pads looping over desiccated machine drumming; it's also the slowest, and the most affecting, picking up that sad-sack techno vibe that stretches from Aphex Twin's Gak EP through to Legowelt and Move D's most numbly melancholy work; those rapid-fire rhythms, however, keep it from getting mired down in bathos. It's an engrossing, inspired way to close out a record that feels like a snapshot of a particularly intense weekend in the studio.
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Tracklist: BNJMN - Unknown 2 A Minus One