Over the last six months, Eric Estornel has been releasing records as part of the Mutant Series, a run of "techno mutations" across various labels. Mutant Romance is its fourth edition, and it arrives on MPLX, a new label for his own music. As I listened back to the series, I searched the term "mutant" on Google Images and got rows of ugly, fiendish creatures. There have been some strong tracks in the Mutant Series, but it would be difficult to describe anything as freakish. What we've had instead, including on this new one, is slick melodic techno.
So yes, it's a woolly concept, but there are some strange bits on the title track. If you enjoyed Bicep's "Glue" last year, this is a similar deal, but with some added wonky synth and effects flourishes. These parts combine decently with the breakbeat and the stirring melody, introducing some grit to offset the emotion. "Mutant Quasars" is more of a roller, but it also aims to get hands in the air. Estornel builds some nice tension through interlocking synths, and the late introduction of the snare hits hard. But the track loses its way in the second half as its subtlety is ceded to an OTT breakdown. If Mutant Romance is the final part in this series, it's provided a neat summary of the whole thing: plenty of good, some bad, not many mutations.