- London's Spatial likes to back up his playful UK techno with big ideas—just look at this year's sprawling "opti-sonic" project, Primitives. In the same spirit, a URL on the centre label of his latest record takes you to a generative artwork inspired by John Conway's Game Of Life. Its erratic, blossoming shapes mimic the way cells reproduce; the point is to illustrate "the process of Emergence, by which complex patterns arise from interactions between simple elements." These two tracks, the first in the three-part Emergence series on Spatial's own Infrasonics label, reflect this idea perfectly. The producer's hybrid music, which balances UK garage's sugary hooks with techno's raw muscle, has rarely sounded so simple and direct—yet it's also more fluid than ever.
"HeLa" centres on the deft sparring match between its sledgehammer kicks and viscous synth chords. The odd barrage of claps evokes Kowton's grime-like constructions, but in Spatial's hands, the results are hypnotic rather than brutal. "Referent" works with near-identical elements, but it's more fractured, its groove constantly teetering on the edge of collapse. Spatial holds his nerve, though, and constructs something borderline delirious before pulling it apart in the breakdown.