- As Kowton has been demonstrating lately, searingly futurist Bristolian techno records are like buses. You wait around for a while, and then two come along at once: first his Livity Sound release, More Games, and now this, the inaugural release on the producer's own Pale Fire imprint. The Idle Hands affiliate has been a central figure in the recent slowing and darkening of UK house and techno, but has never lost sight of the country's own esteemed heritage. Hence Des Bisous, like the Livity release before it, pays striking homage to the jagged brutalism of grime—albeit slowed down so you can mix it with your Appointment records (which I recommend doing post haste).
The A-side seems wrought from the same materials as the Livity single: a drum machine skeleton, spartan synth strings and tape distortion so thickly applied you can almost taste it. In fact, with its serrated hi-hats, semi-tonal melodic hook and bravely simplistic construction, it feels a lot like a sister piece to "More Games." No bad thing—the freshness of this sound is far from exhausted—but nothing to write home about either.
The B-side, aptly titled "Dub Bisous," is where things get interesting. The same track is dubbed through a mixing desk in the time-honored tradition, hands on faders scooping elements out to reveal dizzying swathes of negative space. As a result, the grime-inspired relentlessness of the original gives way to fevered psychedelia: at several points churning delays threaten to consume the mix, overloading circuits, flooding the dance with an all-consuming dread. And when that baleful, thunderous bass drops in over smears of tape-saturated echo, the intensity of the original is magnified several-fold, to stunning effect.
A Des Bisous
B Dub Bisous