Jack Dunning is that rare thing: a reliably chameleonic producer—not fickle so much as engaged in a hit-and-run exercise, dropping in on pockets of latent creativity, raiding them for all the brilliance they've got and moving on before most people have worked out what the fuck's going on. As a practice, it's the very definition of avant-garde: hunting out The New, even perhaps at the expense of your own identity; constantly presaging scenes and sounds without ever settling fully into their embrace.
Maybe that's just the romantic modernist in me coming through, though. Techno has played a part in Untold's explorations before: 2010's "Stereo Freeze" for R&S saw Dunning sculpt angry, gloopy, buzzing beasts in the image of the label's early '90s output. This latest run of singles, however, feels like the product of a far more involved engagement with techno. With Change in a Dynamic Environment EP 1, released back in April, the producer stretched things out almost to breaking point, relying on hypnotic, dehumanising plateaus of energy rather than vertiginous impact; the exquisite agony of the slow build in place of the shock-and-awe immediacy of, say, 2009's "Anaconda."
EP 2 ploughs a similar furrow: simultaneously very familiar in its deployment of the conventions of peak time techno and yet fascinatingly unusual in a way you can't quite place. "Caslon" is mostly kick drums, each one rolling the length of some cavernous warehouse space before falling into the arms of its successor. A surprisingly barefaced melodic line supplies the narrative, gradually consumed by squalls of synthetic detail that rise and fall unendingly. "Breathe" is crisper, more reserved, dawn light peeking tentatively through poorly-covered windows. That doesn't mean the climax is any less confrontational, though—bursts of scuttling hi-hats throw your feet off balance, while serene pads eventually become volatile, rearing up to saturate the mix.
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Tracklist: Untold - Change In A Dynamic Environment Part 2 A Caslon