- Since he first appeared about three years ago, Abdulla Rashim has kept busy honing his brand of textured, open-ended techno. In late 2013 the Swedish artist put out his most recent solo EP on his self-titled label, the six-tracker Aksum, which had more of an album-like flow than his previous records. Also around then came three experimentally-tinged releases produced with his friend Varg under the name Ulwhednar, each of which found a home on his newer, more eclectic Northern Electronics label. Leaping into the full-length format alone on Northern Electronics, he conjures the rhythmically mesmerizing and emotionally gripping world of Unanimity.
Rashim's music has always been characterized by a relentless focus on percussion, often with dense, rolling drum patterns and distinctive, finely-carved hi-hats and other hissing bits of sound that slice into the treble. But the melancholy ambiance that drifts through his records has grown even more into its own assertive and occasionally malevolent force on Unanimity. You can hear it right from the start with "Under This Wasted Sky"'s throbbing distortions, and through the album's two beatless episodes: "No Borders," with all its hallucinatory birdcalls, and "Nothing Existed," the noir-tinted penultimate track.
Such swelling atmospheric elements are put to good use across the rest of the album, too, which sees Rashim continuing to devise tough, complex rhythms while sticking to a recent tendency toward relatively shorter track lengths. The results: a thrilling range of high-pressure cuts that puts to shame the shallow, fist-pumping fodder of the scene's status quo (see, for example, much of CLR and Electric Deluxe's recent output). "Red Uprise"'s levitating drums pulse and pitter-patter beneath clouds thick with long, dreary sighs. "Moral Blinds," on the other hand, is a controlled meltdown. One of a few 3/4 tracks here, its metronomic hi-hat swishes act as a safe haven among boiling acid pools and swirling otherworldly shrieks.
What really holds Unanimity together, though, is the catharsis and evolution suggested by its track titles and carried through to its dramatic last moments. After "No God"'s revelatory rush and the gloomy reflections of "Nothing Existed," at last there's "Unanimity," whose surging, angular masses of percussion and distant wails make for an exhilarating conclusion. With nine tracks and a total length of just over 45 minutes, Unanimity never overstays its welcome, and has a seemingly endless forward momentum. If deep, hypnotic, adventurous techno is your thing, you shouldn't miss this one.
01. Under This Wasted Sky
02. Path Inwards
03. Red Uprise
04. No Borders
05. Moral Blinds
06. Afar Depression
07. No God
08. Nothing Existed