- You'd be hard pressed to discern much difference between Albert Van Abbe's previous label, No Comment, and his new imprint, Vanabbe. There are the same track names that look like catalogue numbers. There's the same pairing of minimalist, rhythm-led techno with a single ambient track—here, "ASTROTURF04," where warped strings fizz around what sound likes the breaths of some small animal. What's missing is anyone else. No remixes, no other originals. Just unadulterated Albert Van Abbe. Which for fans of Dutch techno at its most functional and uncompromising is no bad thing.
There's little here you could call melody. Both "01" and "03" let hi-hats and rim shots do most of the work, the synths serving as texture for the percussion to rattle against. But each time it seems the loops are too incessant there's a flash of pad, a switch in cymbal pattern, and you're encouraged to push on over the next horizon.
"02" is more immediately engaging. With its rippling two-note bass and Answer Code Request-style stabs, this is as close as Van Abbe gets to an earworm. It's the EP's most successful moment because, where the other tracks evoke dank but unchanging atmospheres, here there's also tension. Like Function, Abbe shows how the smallest hint of filter or a snare roll can tighten every muscle on a dance floor.
A1 Astroturf 01
A2 Astroturf 02
B1 Astroturf 03
B2 Astroturf 04