- Stanislav Tolkachev struggles to translate his deadly techno loops into a coherent full-length.
- You could say that loops are dance music's atoms: its fundamental building blocks, out of which the most diverse tracks are constructed. If so, then Ukraine's Stanislav Tolkachev is one of techno's atomic physicists. Working in the Jeff Mills tradition, he subjects the loop to intense scientific scrutiny, modulating his arps and basslines until they spit and sputter in mind-bending shapes. This technique gives his music its trippy power, but it can also be a limitation. By making loops his focus, Tolkachev sacrifices larger-scale development. His tracks are often plateaus. He sets up a sequence, tweaks it for a few minutes and then stops the machines.
This lack of internal contrast is no problem in itself, but making an album of this stuff flow would require careful thought and sequencing. Tolkachev didn't crack it on 2016's flat When You Are Not At Home and he doesn't on its follow-up, either. The producer says it's "not an album that I have recorded specially" but "a compilation of tracks from a three year period," made at various times and on various gear. The pacing is stodgy, and fidelity varies between tracks in a way that feels scrappy rather than diverse. The results shine no new light on Tolkachev's beloved style.
It Will Be Too Late Then rolls methodically through a few modes. Squalling opener "Ball Of Fire" ditches out onto a couple of suspenseful slow-burners, "OK. U Can Mix This One" and "Draw Me A Seal." From there we get into the meat: "Double Damage" is the album's most satisfying track, the sort of twisted hard-techno stomper that only Tolkachev can make. (It shows up the more muted track that follows, "The Dirty Water.") The album's second half gets spacier. "Truth Be Told" and "This Game Has No Name" are fogged and turbulent, suggesting the alternating euphoria and fear of a dodgy ecstasy trip. The former's nine minutes of bleary, billowing arps are particularly impressive.
Tolkachev gets a bit emotional at the album's close, with the drumless "Curly" and "You Spoil Everything." The latter track's pinprick lead-lines glimmer sadly over a despondent 4/4 trudge, a subdued note on which to end the album. Tolkachev says the record represents "a phase" in his production. If so, it's a phase of consolidation. This doesn't mean he won't continue to produce excellent, inspiring music. But the workmanlike It Will Be Too Late Then isn't quite that.
01. Ball Of Fire
02. OK. U Can Mix This One
03. Draw Me A Seal
04. Double Damage
05. The Dirty Water
06. Truth Be Told
07. This Game Has No Name
09. You Spoil Everything