Talker - Hari

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  • Talker is a new name that first surfaced with "Cut The Weight (Pts. 1 & 2)," a slab of strung-out experimental techno released on Downwards' 2013 compilation Halha. Behind the alias, though, are two Chicago artists who might already be familiar to tuned-in heads: Karl Meier, a longtime DJ and all-around scene stalwart who's worked at Gramaphone and other key record shops, and Jon Krohn, a member of the experimental rock outfit Male who produces abstract, industrialized rhythms as Stave. After that spot on Halha, and an EP featuring an extended version from Regis earlier this year, the duo now returns to Downwards with the dynamic mini-LP Hari. Hari has eight tracks, four on each side, totaling just over 30 minutes. The subtle, immersive first half eases into action with the title track, a mellow, syncopated cut layered with hissing atmospherics and low guitar stirrings. "From Stem To Stern" briefly hints at the confrontation that comes later—its brooding percussion sounds almost like Ancient Methods, and there's a distorted lead that wheels around in a deranged fashion. "Image Union" is a return to clear air, with lo-fi choral drones and percussion achieving a hazily hypnotic effect. "Behemoth" soars even higher through endless expanses of warm, blissful noise. The mood instantly turns darker and more fraught on the flip, beginning with "Frame Capture." This one is as close as Hari gets to conventional 4/4 techno, but growling mid-range, intensifying drones and harsh squalls of feedback give it a fluidity and emotional impact that place it far above much of today's stoic fare. What follows is perhaps the record's most visceral cut: "Meniscus," produced by Downwards favorite Samuel Kerridge using source material from Talker. The pairing is perfect, with Kerridge's indecipherable, sermon-like ranting delivered amid a storm of sparse, booming drums and deep-fried distortion. A blur of broken beats then brings about Hari's finish. "Anthony" is a minute-long bout of cacophonous peak-time techno, and "Phalanx," laced with ethereal ambiance, surges triumphantly to a sudden end. I wish a few of these tracks were longer, but that's a minor gripe. Talker's wide-ranging yet focused approach makes for an excellent record, one worth listening to from front to back.
  • Tracklist
      01. Hari 02. From Stem To Stern 03. Image Union 04. Behemoth 05. Frame Capture 06. Meniscus 07. Anthony 08. Phalanx