The boundaries between sound design and production have never been thinner. From the liquid landscapes of ASC to the glassy minutiae of Shlomo, producers are pushing themselves, their technology, and us the listener further than ever before into realms of the unknown. At least that's the plan, and for the most part of Peter van Hoesen's sophomore album, Peceiver, that's where you end up—somewhere away from the sounds you have come to expect from the Time to Express boss. He's still making techno, but now it's stripped of the flaky, peeling textures of his debut, Entropic City. Instead of a fuggy stoner sound, Receiver feels cleaner, more organic and less decayed; almost like a manipulation of warm air currents instead of a collage of frayed sounds. At least for the first half.
Despite the experimental undercurrent (the Belgian feels this project has been more akin to sound research than anything) coherency and dance floor clout are not sacrificed; things veer into the less familiar without ever growing wholly unrecognisable. "Objects from the Past" sounds thoroughly underwater, swirling like a deep sea current as minute sonic plankton float by ever so slowly. The kicks of "To Alter a Vector" sound so vast it's as if someone is striking the steel hull of a huge ship with a rubber mallet. The beauty is in the marriage between hugely oversized sounds, swathes of echo and delay, and the more delicate touches that draw you in closer then lock you in place.
Where negative space was the overriding characteristic of the album's first half, gauzy density wins out in the latter. Track four, "Spectral Participant," is the moment the intensity begins to build. Instead of each sound having its own place, they all cross and interweave with each other into a thick sonorous mesh before "Attack on the Reality"'s over-compressed sounds splinter in all directions. Plenty of dance floor dynamite follows in the rumbles and grumbles of "Nefertiti / Always Beyond" while the rush-inducing overload of the title track manages to be both bold and beautiful. From there it's an increasingly tormented and, at times, demented ride through hugely physical bass and arresting synthetics. Melodies appear more than once, but are buried right at the heart of each mix, acting like anchors in the otherwise disorientating chaos. Rather than a wholesale revolution, Perceiver feels more like the evolution you'd expect of someone with his inimitable techno know-how.
Tracklist 01. Objects from the Past
02. To Alter a Vector
03. Seven, Green & Black
04. Spectral Participant
05. Attack on the Reality Principle
06. Nefertiti Always Beyond
07. Inspection in Solitude
08. Rapture's Coming
10. Attribute 39
11. Europa Unlit Bonfire