Dave Huismans had a relatively quiet 2012. The Air Jordan EP under the 2562 alias took his sample-based approach into newly conceptual realms, while productions as A Made Up Sound found a home on Clone Basement Series (the banging but comparatively straight-laced Archive II) and 50 Weapons (a pair of crunchy party starters titled Malfunctions). But it felt like Huismans' more radical tendencies were being held in check. Ahead / Endgame renders that notion thoroughly obsolete. This is, without doubt, the most unhinged record Huismans has put his name to, and will likely stand out as one of the most challenging dance floor platters of the year—and if you think that's a bold claim to be making in January then you obviously haven't heard the thing.
In a sense, we've been waiting for this record for a while, its barefaced insanity having been hinted at in past AMUS material—the strange, sparse brutalism of 2011's "Take The Plunge (Beat Mix)," or the tumbledown rhythmic science of "Malfunction (Despair)." "Ahead," in particular, feels like the answer to a question that has long been on Huismans' lips: namely, "where is the boundary between swing and disaster?" There's a groove, sure —mucky kick drums and splintered shards of hi-hat fall onto an approximate grid—but Huismans tears gaping holes in it, yawning silences occasionally filled with frantic double-time snare drills. "Endgame" is fractionally kinder to DJs, its yammering synth line and stuttering beat repeat-style edits recalling MMM at their raviest. Still, the same incessant stop-start dynamism is at work, a gleeful refusal of dance floor fulfillment that only a veteran like Huismans could pull off. In the closing minutes we're dropped, abruptly, into a straight-ahead techno banger. It feels well earned.
Tracklist: A Made Up Sound - Ahead / EndgameA Ahead