- Last year's The Slammer felt like a turning point for London producer Spatial—the moment when the dub techno-garage gene-splice he was known for found its groove at slower tempos. With Set Apart he appears on West Norwood Cassette Library's eponymous label. This EP is Spatial's rawest yet, replacing the scalpel-sharp dub techno chords and clipped percussion of his past work with distorted kicks, brash sample work and bassbin-rattling subs. The result is a boisterous, mongrel form of techno that seems distinctively British—not to mention highly satisfying.
Opener "Set Apart" tips the boldest nod to UK hardcore—particularly in the breakdown, whose schlocky string line, murky vocal sample and lumbering bassline feel cheap and cheerful in the best possible way. By contrast, "Lost" is more Belgian in execution, its kick reduced to an ugly knot of distortion under a glassy, hypnotic bleep-pattern, though it's elevated by Spatial's characteristic swing. "Syn Cop" is even more aggressive, a broken-beat stormer centred around charred synths that yammer and howl in the foreground. It feels like a concession to the UK's recent turn towards industrial, and Spatial's stop-start sense of momentum doesn't work so well in the context. But "Right Now" redeems things, its silky chords and diva snippets offering a welcome dose of smoothness.
A1 Set Apart
B1 Right Now
B2 Syn Cop