Basic Soul Unit -­ Under The Same Sky

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  • Stuart Li has kept a fairly recognisable sound throughout his 12-year career. It's not unique to him, but he does it as well as anyone. Consummate long- and short-form releases on labels like Dolly, NonPlus and Still Music all prove that much: be they deeper house, dub or techno excursions, everything Li does leans on heavyweight funk, lo-fi grit and an uncomplicated yet absorbing sense of function. For his next trick, the Canadian producer known as Basic Soul Unit further homes in on these aesthetics, eschewing deep house and dub to serve up Under The Same Sky, an unadulterated collection of ten forceful techno weapons. Comparisons to artists like Shed are obvious. You'll hear it in the way the drums pound and rumble, the way the sharp percussion glints just enough to stand out from the subterranean murk and the way retro rave stabs act as subtle hooks. Li has essentially turned in ten variations on a Berlin techno theme, but Under The Same Sky is compelling nonetheless. "The Rift Between" has drum programming so punchy no one could fault it. "Until The End Comes" is so cavernous it's sure to fill vast warehouses, and "Restless In Thought" is smeared with synths and flashed with melody in a way that recalls prime-era Carl Craig. While the tempo rarely shifts throughout Li's second album, the mood does. He can do sombre finality (as per the title track), brutal, over-compressed physicality ("Fate In Hand") and nerve twitching, high-pressure urgency ("Unwavered") with equal skill. The result is an album that leaves little room for boredom. Under The Same Sky might not be the most original or ambitious album you will hear this year, but it's arresting, it moves quickly and it never looks back.
  • Tracklist
      01. We All Want To Believe 02. Without Fears 03. Landlocked 04. The Rift Between 05. Until The End Comes 06. Temptress 07. Unwavered 08. Restless In Thoughts 09. Fate In Hand 10. Under The Same Sky