- Talking earlier this year to Max Pearl, Shawn O'Sullivan described techno as "super flexible," and "more of a blank slate than almost any other kind of popular music genre." His work with Katie O'Sullivan as Further Reductions is a prime example. On their superb 2014 album, Woodwork, it was possible to hear echoes of mid-'80s dark wave—especially the storm-cloud panoramas of Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance—on its viscous dub techno tracks. Disparate Elements, their first release since then, draws more from club music, but, as with Woodwork, these influences redraw techno in refreshingly offbeat ways.
"Disparate Elements"'s dancehall snares and vocoder parts might remind you of Errorsmith's Superlative Fatigue. Like so much of that album, "Disparate Elements" easily balances experimentation and fun. You could say the same for "Aural Equivalent," whose helium-pitched vocal ("listen to that") repeats over acid churns and trumpet-like echos. The mood elsewhere is ominous, but the quality remains exceptionally high. You might imagine the opening minutes of "Central System" slotting nicely into a DJ Stingray set—the toxic-hued synths and pads that arrive later would make it one of the standout tracks. "It's Later Than You Think" is as close as Disparate Elements comes to regular techno, but Katie O'Sullivan's drowsy vocals add yet another compelling twist.
A1 Central System
A2 It's Later Than You Think
B1 Disparate Elements
B2 Aural Equivalent