- Livity Sound initially seemed like a self-contained endeavour, a side project from artists who already belonged to Bristol's existing musical families. But, intentionally or not, the label has gradually become the centre of a small community. To date, Hodge is probably the most successful artist inspired by Livity's austere vision for British techno. But Batu, who debuted on Pinch's Cold Recordings before scoring a single on Livity sublabel Dnuos Ytivil, may not be far behind him.
"Cardinal" is the first single on Batu's label, Timedance, and it contains his most striking and ambitious work yet. The A-side is the bigger risk-taker, mainly because it so thoroughly bucks expectations. Its skittish arpeggios, riddled with distortion and pungent feedback, build and build to a drop that never arrives. Instead, just as we reach fever pitch, everything falls away to be rebuilt once more. On its own it's a faintly frustrating experience, but the intention is clearly for DJs to supply their own points of impact; as a set-opener, it could doubtless be deadly. On the B-side, "Domino Theory" supplies more dependable thrills. By now, Batu's a dab hand at Livity-style breezeblock grooves, and he turns in a solid one here. It's joined by yet more meaty arps—spiralling figures not a thousand miles from those on Hodge's "Flashback." The thing really comes into its own in the breakdown, when those synths descend into a string of chaotic squiggles. In both, the sense of scale is pleasingly huge.
B1 Domino Theory