- Three years on from his last solo record, Blawan launches his TERNESC label with the four-track Warm Tonal Touch EP. Maybe it was the experience of working with Pariah on their hard-nosed Karenn project, or just his years entrenched in the belly of dark clubs, but Jamie Roberts has emerged favoring a decidedly straightforward techno sound. This is rugged soundsystem music arranged specifically with precision and movement in mind—no catchy samples, little melody, no color. In another producer's hands, the simple rhythmic churn and distant sirens of "Fentanyl" might've come off hackneyed or flat; Roberts makes it feel the opposite of that.
A real standout is "Slow Mick," which has a kick pattern like the thrum of helicopter blades. It's all steeped in pinprick textures and ghastly shudders, but what sticks with you longest is what sounds like an aluminum shed Roberts used as a percussion instrument. The slight pitch shifts between each thwack just about eke out a hook from the pattern. "Blue Bottle" and "Talatone" do actually mix tonal synths into their mechanized tremors, though only the latter gives them a discernible shape—and to its detriment. The buzzy doodle on "Blue Bottle" is an appropriate feint, whereas "Talatone"'s melodic loop sits too comfortably over the basic 4/4 structure. But the track is a rare case of blandness on an EP that finds potency in common practices.
B1 Slow Mick
B2 Blue Bottle