- Literally and metaphorically, scene veteran Colin "Mr. G" McBean is relentless. One half of '90s techno terrors, The Advent, he now specialises in a kind of compact, rubberised tech-funk which, in its ultra-clipped loops and bustling, repetitive urgency, flourishes in the slipstream of functional genres past. In it, you can hear the aftershocks of classic tunnelling techno; XPress 2-era "tribal house"; something of EBM's physicality; even ghettotech's wild, filthy bounce. This is club music to its bones, then, and Mr. G is a master of the form.
Most remarkable, perhaps, is the way that Mr. G's sound—this ostensibly uniform, repetitive music—also works across a whole album. That he imbues his tracks with human warmth is key. Like his last album, Still Here (Get On Down), State of Flux is highly tactile. You can almost touch the wooden veneers on the old keyboards used in its production, almost see the battered kit and trailing cables. It is a rich, full-bodied analogue experience, raw, unresolved and one—befitting a man who, historically, would book techno DJs to play on reggae soundystems—anchored by deep, compelling bass patterns. Some are electronic, some are cleverly, you'd guess, constructed from vintage disco and funk records. Indeed, the way in which Mr. G subtly alludes, whether through dusty vinyl crackle or direct samples, to a whole black music pre-history, of soul, gospel, reggae, is another way he sets himself apart.
Insomuch as State of Flux differs from its predecessor, its tracks sound less dense, the design more matured. It is surely an in-joke that, on the opening track, a voice intones: "Tribal drums are saying nothing." Thereafter, "G's Riddem," "One Year Later" and "Clearing Space" give a knob-twiddling lesson in how tuning, tweaking and EQing drums and percussion can give a track real character.
Interestingly, the album's two slower, more obviously eclectic tracks— "Bill's January Blues," a Massive Attack-like foray into electronic dub and "New Life (ESP)," a kind of Nuyorican techno reverie—both arrive at its end. On most dance music albums these would have been used earlier, as moments of respite. But Mr. G doesn't need to chill-out to retain your interest. Even at his most "Pumped Up" he seems to have ideas to spare.
01. G's Riddem
02. One Year Later
03. Clearing Space
04. Pumped Up
05. Dark Thoughts (The Afterworld)
06. Remember This!
07. Absurd Beatz No.4
08. Pause 4 Thought With You feat. Garfield King
09. Mango Came Round.....
10. Bill's January Blues
11. New Life (E_S_P)