Richard's new approach to house is to smooth it down and pare it back. On highlight "Nighthawk," the synths wheel like mournful seabirds over crisp, carefully syncopated drums. Beneath it all is a single held chord, a placeholder for the album's mood of steady perseverance. Richard's forays into drone, on stately numbers like "No Balance" and "Ejected," compound this feeling.
The risk of such restraint is boredom, and Grind does sometimes take on the more negative implications of its title. "Screes Of Grey Craig," for instance, is a bit lacklustre, though its materials are only fractionally different from those of its better companions. A zoomed-in view of Grind often reveals flat, almost inert textures. It takes a broader perspective to see the album's charms, and they're ample. Grind gets more compelling as it runs, and more so still with each repeated play.
Some track titles reference the optical phenomenon of the "green flash," in which a green light can be briefly seen at sunset on an unobstructed horizon (like, for instance, one observed over a body of water). "Waiting For The Green Flash" and "I-Mir" (meaning inferior mirage) find Richard at his most withdrawn. They prepare the album for its own green flashes—moments of surprising beauty that puncture the austere surface. There's the sparkling arps of "Bane," and, better still, closer "Vampire (Dub)," whose ambrosial chords provide a wash of light after 45 minutes of overcast skies. In keeping with Richard's newfound style, both tracks loop serenely at length. In Grind's deeper sense of time, they feel like they're over all too soon.