Like his alias Basic Soul Unit suggests, Toronto's Stuart Li is a no-nonsense kind of producer. He has an old-school minimalist approach, honing in on raw machine grooves and grainy analog textures with laser focus. Last time Basic Soul Unit recorded for Adam Marshall's New Kanada imprint, even the titles sounded dryly functional: "Rhythm No. 1," "Basic Necessity." This time, he's allowed himself more poetic license, but the music is more elemental than ever. "Herstory" begins as a mere wisp of a track, just a lone ping rising and falling over a half-time kick drum, with a backbeat thwack dutifully keeping time; as a single, tentative chord swells and the midrange gathers mass, the track rolls like a small craft too far out to sea, squeezed between the waves and the fog.
Soaked in reverb and flashing metal accents, "For Some" is Berghain-grade techno par excellence, but again, there's an unusual softness, as though concrete walls were wrapped in cotton batting. Something in the loping groove recalls dancehall reggae—a welcome reprieve from techno's four-to-the-floor default. "Deep Diving," true to its title, is a descent into murky, churning chords, dubbed to hell and back, with crisp 909 snares illuminating the path. "Groundswell" is the EP's fullest cut, and its most sensual, thrumming with colorful arpeggios, counterpoints that tie the heartstrings up in knots, and stately piano chords with an almost Latin feel. Many producers might have made this their A1; its position here feels emblematic of the same sense of restraint that makes Basic Soul Unit's music so enveloping.
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Tracklist: Basic Soul Unit - Deep Diving A1 Herstory
A2 For Some
B1 Deep Diving
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