A dance floor's dream and a mixing engineer's nightmare, this spirited techno album goes wild on the reverb. It works.
Henson returns with B·O·M, a full-length loaded with his signature verve that remains focussed. "Hunting Hides" is relatively simple—a noisy techno drum kit and dripping-wet monosynth squalls, arranged with a freehanded feel that revels in caustic frequencies. From there, the record gets more unusual, but not at the expense of structure. "Location Scout" has a modal riff that would sound at home on a Surgeon record. On one level, "Teflontuan" is a dynamic acid techno track, but it's also littered with weird samples for melodic hooks, while a torrent of echo-chamber interference lingers overhead.
Every track is smothered in reverb, the drums kept dry in the foreground as wayward effects and synths ping out in virtual space. This looming atmosphere subtly shifts Henson's creations away from club-readiness. The orchestral drone humming in the distance behind "Entercol" welcomes sharp claps and cascading tones into its decay-ridden dungeon. It's a mixing engineer's nightmare, but this over-cooked, in-the-red approach is where Henson draws his particular appeal. This processing also give a monolothic stature to the array of drum samples and alarm bells on "Seventh Gun Territory."
Henson's instinct for hooks balances out his unruly approach to production. The wobbly synth refrain that comes in for the second half of "Location Scout" is an understated knockout blow, even if it's been degraded to the edge of fidelity. There aren't many DJs who would go for this stuff—perhaps someone who instantly buys the Head Front Panel 12-inch or digs the recent Karenn album, but it's clear that NOCHEXXX isn't a project made for mass appeal. Henson's take on techno, particularly on tracks like "Location Scout," is straight from the Landstrumm / Vogel school of freakiness.