The fantastic lead cut 'Promises' is also band-like in another sense. A synthesizer can sound like anything of course, but how often is it a rhythm guitar? The Beavis & Butthead in me thinks that these kinds of techno records are often the best: brilliant tracks like Basic Channel's twenty-minute epic 'Quadrant Dub' or Louderbach's 'Season 6' manage to create funk inside each bar with revolving synth riffs that sound like the movement of a hand. In fact, the rhythm of 'Promises' might even be a little informed by 'Season 6', but that's where the similarity ends: where 'Season 6' was all about surprising you with its peak, 'Promises' is about the tranced-out repetition, a la Radio Slave or Donato Dozzy. Guitar World readers beware of course: every sound on this EP is coaxed out of a machine, but somehow it does evoke the blurry, busy right hand of Lou Reed, and when the whip cracks after the breakdown, you feel like you're listening to a Detroit techno version of 'What Goes On'. Simple but amazing.
On the B-side tracks, the lead synths do other, less amazing things, dissolving into gaseous clouds on 'Cottonwood' and breathing in and out on 'Beau Monde'. It's all very evocative in patented Dial fashion, but pads never made anyone dance: compared with the rhythmic whip of 'Promises', filling up the spaces between the kicks with offbeat snares ('Cottonwood') or a breakbeat ('Beau Monde') isn't quite so satisfying.
Not that it matters much. If you love understated, hypnotic techno, 'Promises will fire up your synapses rather nicely.
Wed / 26 Sep 2007
B2 Beau Monde