- You don't have to look far to find carbon copies of old dance music. What so many artists forget when they borrow from bygone eras of garage, grime, hardcore or jungle is the sense of endless possibility and subversion that made the original stuff so exciting. Logos and Mumdance, together and seperately, have done a remarkable job of tapping into that feeling. Their work is rooted in the past yet still fresh and modern, taking classic tropes and brazenly throwing them into new configurations. While the two have conjured up the ghosts of OG grime in the past, Proto looks back even further than that, homing in on a time in the early '90s when dance music was prone to rapid mutation.
If there's one difference between the music here and the music of yore, it's that Proto feels unerringly mechanized. You can hear it in the record's bookends, the portentous "Border Drone"—which beeps metronomically like a robot on patrol—and "Cold," a calm shoreline rendered in crude pixels. There's an equally rigid approach to tension and release. "Legion" builds up and lets off steam with precision, isolating a roaring bassline or ticking hi-hat and forcing each to thunder into the void alone.
Just like their stylistic forbears, Logos and Mumdance use rudimentary techniques to spice up their stark palette. "Proto" and "Bagleys" sound as if they're ripping through the fabric of time itself, á la early jungle, while "Hall Of Mirrors" lets its drum sounds disintegrate and splinter with each new pass through the gauntlet. It's a crude time-stretching effect that sounds absolutely deadly.
The slight feeling of familiarity on Proto is the record's only flaw. Coming from the two guys responsible for Cold Mission and Take Time, a direct glance to the past could come off as a compromise. That said, Logos & Mumdance are also the duo behind "In Reverse," a tune that sounded insane when it dropped in 2013, and all because of the rather simple flourish of its backwards samples. Similar strokes of genius are all over Proto, a record that shows you don't always have to be flashy to be futuristic.
01. Border Drone
02. Dance Energy (89 Mix)
03. Chaos Engine
05. Hall Of Mirrors
08. Room 2 Lazer
09. Move Your Body