Oscar Mulero - Muscle And Mind

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  • The idea that techno is by definition bleak and dystopian is so ingrained in the discourse around it that it's easy to default to that interpretation. A one-time goth and post-punk DJ whose last album, Black Propaganda, was an artistic response to Spain's economic crash, Oscar Mulero probably fits that archetype more than most. And certainly, there are moments of pitch-black darkness on Muscle And Mind. "Dualistic Concept" could be a left over track from Black Propaganda—sonically desolate, dirty, battered by howling winds, it literally sounds like an abandoned industrial unit. But this album is so much more than that. Mulero's music is often as bone-dry as Marcel Dettmann's, and in its piston-like percussive drive, it betrays his roots in banging '90s techno. But with its pulsing loops, fed through all manner of reverb, delay and stereo-panning effects—not to mention his newfound fondness for blankets of bell-like chimes—Muscle And Mind also recalls the hypnotic abstraction of Tobias Freund or even the celestial awe of Pantha Du Prince. This is hard techno, but it's expressive and spiritually uplifting, led by harmony and tiny fragments of melody. The album turns on "Anatomical Variation," a gorgeous plume of chimes and sizzling, sandpaper sweeps. The following track, "Mentally Induced Action," is much tighter. Fast-paced and built for the dance floor, it's all compressed, fizzing energy. On "Interrelated," Mulero knits those two strands together—rippling, broken bell harmonics and a barrelling kick—to create a piece of radiant sunrise techno. In defiance of genre stereotypes, Muscle And Mind is an album of dramatic light and shade.
  • Tracklist
      01. Mind-Body Interaction 02. Dualistic Concept 03. Involuntary Response 04. Anatomical Variation 05. Mentally Induced Action 06. Interrelated 07. Mindful Body 08. 201 Element 09. Mechanical Function 10. Muscle and Mind 11. Mental Causation 12. Unconscious