An organic vision of dub techno from Strategy and Best Available Technology.
Strategy, real name Paul Dickow, is a longtime practitioner of experimental electronic music and dub, while Best Available Technology, or Kevin Palmer, makes freeform tracks that dip in and out of dance music forms. They make natural partners, and their styles mesh well on Buried Legends, which was recorded in Portland over the course of three years. It has an unhurried and idiosyncratic feel—some tracks, like "DMZ Route 82" and "Cloverleafz," don't fit into any current trend or genre. Each is frantic without being overbearing, with splatters of percussion and haphazard chords that take an influence from IDM.
Though Buried Legends comes from two obsessive electronic tinkerers, it also feels remarkably alive. From the moment you hear those chords on "ASCI," there's a disorienting sense of manipulation and transformation—no sound is safe from relentless pitch-bending or processing. The songwriting is just as unpredictable, like the sudden explosion of percussion that happens near the end of "ASCI." You could call this dub techno, but instead of settling into zen-like repetition, it forces you to keep your wits about you.
Elsewhere, Palmer and Dickow make dance music that feels rubbery and tactile, like on the fidgety, garage-influenced "Feast And Insist" or the chugging "Serengetti Sessions." "Grotto Collapse" and "Millparkalypse" are so zany and playful they're almost goofy, especially "Millparkalypse," which starts out as jackhammering techno but unspools into a dubbed-out puddle of chords, its nervous drums turned inside-out and pushed into the background. "Mill Park Bunker" is a remarkably messy piece of electronic music that still feels purposeful.
There are softer moments, too, like the near-ambient "Lotus Isle," whose grand melodies and surface crackle recall some of Dickow's recent work for Further Records. The closing "Seven Gabled Dub" is as close to straight-up dub the duo get on Buried Legends, albeit dub built with textures that channel both cold steel and human warmth. That contradiction is as inherent to Buried Legends as the landscape it was made in as the landscape it was made in, an album of machine music that's not only clever but unusually natural and understated.