Bleak, slow-rolling techno—that's what Mike Jefford specializes in with his Positive Centre project. The two EPs he's released so far were both short, sinister trips, bearing cryptically titled tracks usually pitched between 100 and 115 BPM. In Silent Series, Jefford's debut album and the first for Sigha's Our Circula Sound label, continues in similar fashion, resulting in an immersive listen with few bumps along the way.
In Silent Series shows Jefford is at his best when he lets his tracks grow and mutate, carving out extra bits of texture and dialing in more tension with each passing measure. "Out Was The Old In" is one example: over a tumbling kick drum, it lets out reverberated squelches that sound like an acid line turned inside-out, and puts hair-raising drones just off in the distance. But it's the all-in moments that are the highlights, like "Handed By Symmetry" and "Stand Down Be Better." The former descends with lean, syncopated percussion, scrambled analog noise and cavernous chords, while the latter, though it starts with some warm, earthy techno, ultimately leaves beats behind and dissolves into a dark-ambient soundscape.
There are a few less compelling efforts here. The first track, "No Need For Narration," is a mostly nondescript drone, though it does cleanse the palette. And while "Ashes In Exhalation" and "Become The Surface" might serve well as an early build and mid-album respite, both lack the nuance that characterizes the rest of the album.
Still, those tracks don't detract much from the journey, which winds down on a promising note with the almost ten-minute "Old Father Sun Strider." A slightly swung cut of shimmering atmospheric techno, it's the warmest and brightest thing Jefford has produced, even with the gloomy growls and echoed clatters at its end. All in all, his appreciation for space and detail make In Silent Series a fine debut full-length.
Tracklist01. No Need For Narration
02. Ashes In Exhalation
03. Out Was The Old In
04. Handed By Symmetry
05. Back To Steaming
06. Become The Surface
07. Stand Down Be Better
08. The Circled Rib
09. Old Father Sun Strider