- Steve Bailey was a reliable source of grim British techno throughout the somewhat fallow 2000s. He's been less prolific in recent years, which is perhaps surprising given the resurgence of interest in the Birmingham sound.
Bailey's latest Makaton record, his first for Blueprint, veers away from the hard arts, swapping the gothic aggro of his last two Token EPs for a drier minimalism. The kick drums are dull and woody, the hi-hats a terse scrape, and synth loops snag hypnotically against the groove. Bailey bleeds in an additional layer of extremely subtle sound design—the whispers of incidental movement captured on a field recording, perhaps—giving these tracks a close, intimate quality. Rolling, Robert Hood-like opener "4P Suspension" is the best. "6FT Under In Love," whose synths cling viscously to the percussion around them, comes a close second. "Cold Black Heart" has less to offer, but Nothing Can Be Held In Our Hands For Long is nonetheless an intriguing new direction from an old hand.
A1 4P Suspension
B1 6FT Under In Love
B2 Cold Black Heart