Matthew Puffett has put out a Future Beat Alliance record almost every year since 1996, his favored alias gracing such A-list dance labels as Delsin and Rush Hour. His productions, however, are probably not the stereotypical contemporary techno buyer's cup of tea. Rooted in a time before techno became a byword for pounding darkness and/or brittle minimalism, FBA's machines are plentiful and wholly benevolent. The racket they make—bright, brash, big, occasionally beautiful, almost always happy—would almost sound more at home soundtracking trust-building exercises or pep rallies than whatever sex dungeon Marcel Dettmann is playing this weekend.
Puffett's latest, the aptly named Machines Can Help EP, continues his quest for compassionate techno. And I wouldn't be surprised if, in light of the spirit portal Oni Ayhun opened up on last year's uber-magical OAR003, the Alliance picks up some new enlistees this time out. The EP's driving opener, "Simulation," pits quasi-acid bass arpeggios against nimbly programmed drums and smooth synth washes. The title cut follows a similar formula but ticks down the tempo for a sultrier, if almost Balearic, vibe. Things gel best on the flip, where the melodically inquisitive and boldly anthemic "Cross Dissolve" makes for the sort of techno journey only FBA seems to have the balls for. Even 14 years in, this future-beat still sounds mighty promising.
Buy Future Beat Alliance - Machines Can Help EP at
Tracklist: Future Beat Alliance - Machines Can Help EP A1 Simulation
A2 Machines Can Help
B Cross Dissolve