Romans - Romans I

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  • Tin Man and Gunnar Haslam have at least one thing in common: their romanticism. The former is admired for exposing the elegiac potential in that most overused of tools, the 303. As for L.I.E.S. affiliate Haslam, you need only look as far as his Bera Range EP to see that he enjoys bit of soaring majesty. As such, you might be able to hazard a guess as to what the pair's debut collaborative release as Romans sounds like. And you'd be right—at least in part. "Deva Victrix," the chief attraction here, is almost symphonic in scope. A dense grid of percussion barely lets up for the duration, but it's the chords you're listening to—a layered soup of pianos, dub stabs, synth strings and so on—while a 303 (what else?) pings gently away in the foreground. The overall effect is one of elegant angst (although the lengthy percussion-only coda feels unnecessary). "Glanum I" is even more extravagant, ditching the techno framework altogether to explore swooning synth-pop balladry. Its main flaw is that it doesn't go further—the melody lines are crying out for a singer, or at least some more full-bodied, pop-wise production. Elsewhere things are little more muted. At first, "Alba Lulia"'s dissonant melodies suggest a bleak nocturnal techno number. But the chords in the latter half confuse the mood. Finally "Glanum II," which features the same 303 line as its counterpart, some lacklustre drums and nothing else, feels like a slightly pointless addendum. These two producers work best when playing to their mutual strength. Let's hear those synths weep.
  • Tracklist
      01. Alba Lulia 02. Deva Victrix 03. Glanium 1 04. Glanium 2