- The classically-trained polymath Daniel Martin-McCormick is anything but predictable. A veteran of the DC hardcore band Black Eyes, he has worked on experimental electro projects (Mi Ami, Sex Worker) and first started making techno for dance-not-dance label 100% Silk. His output as Ital is murky, spaced-out, exploratory techno. Still, the Brooklyn-based producer remains ambivalent about dance floor functionality, and once enthused to Anthem Magazine about creating music mastered for intimate home-listening, not, as he put it, "UK clubs."
Endgame elaborates on that ethos, albeit with more hardware than 2012's Hive Mind. The first four tracks are tense with jangling reverb, often featuring post-punk and early electronic percussion that most club-focused producers might find lightweight. While such tracks—in their slipperiness and corroded textures—are obviously influenced by drone and noise, they are also reminiscent—in their darkness, busyness and melodicism—of classic Detroit techno. With its lissom, glittering melody and frozen atmosphere, "Endgame" could be an old Transmat release. Ital's music is often tagged as psychedelic, but this is no serene soundtrack for inner flight. At their edges, these tracks are manic and unsettling.
Endgame excels when its structures are more orthodox. Led by what sounds like a steel drum riff and bleeps that are splintering in the red, "Dancing" gradually layers in the chaos in a way that feels open and light, as if Ital's ideas can suddenly breathe. "White II," meanwhile, is a brooding piece of big-room techno, with its insistent kick and fathomless, angry bass. But does he really want to rock these kinds of spaces? In between those two, the Cobblestone Jazz-ish minimalism of "Concussion" and atmospheric "Beacon" suggest his real talent lies in ambient electronica. "Beacon" opens with a female voice whispering unintelligibly and evolves into a dream-state landscape of extraordinary beauty, sadness and even sexiness. Muted beats phase in and out and bubbling synth figures are held at bay, as if you're hearing it three floors away in a club. Like Endgame in general, it makes you question, if only momentarily, the ubiquity of linear 4/4 techno.
03. Whispers In The Dark
08. White II
09. Black Dust