Raster-Noton usually gets saddled with the "sound design" tag, and usually it's pretty accurate. French stable member Kangding Ray, however, has always fallen nearer to techno—techno with impeccable sound design, of course. His past work for the label has been swung and slightly abstract, but Pentaki Slopes—his first appearance on Raster-Noton since his 2011 album OR—sees him going straight for the floor.
The EP includes two massive nine-minute tracks, "North" and "South," which I assume are meant to be polar opposites of each other. The former lunges forward with just a slight spring in its step, as if David Letellier couldn't bear to lay down a flat beat. Wisps of synth coil from the churning furnace beneath, the mark of his polished production, but as it peters out into three minutes of meandering with "Plateau," his ambition gets in the way. It's a fine track, but nowhere near his best.
Fortunately "South" sets things right. It takes a while to rumble to a start with its Marc Romboy-esque gurgling, but just when you think it's going to be a grimy sewer-scraper, a shimmering chord emerges with a determined chug. Like some old trance track covered in rot, it's one of the most evocative Letellier productions laid to wax, and also one of the most danceable.
Buy Kangding Ray - The Pentaki Slopes at
Tracklist: Kangding Ray - The Pentaki Slopes A1 North
A2 Plateau (A Single Source Of Truth)