Audiofly & Scarlett Etienne - Loose Lips

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  • Move over Lisa Lashes, there's a new girl in town! Magda too had better watch her back because its her weaponry in use, and San Franciscan Scarlett Etienne wields it like a pair of nunchakas. Kickboxer put it better: 'She is damn good-looking and her tracks are rocking like hell.' Female producers might still be a novelty but we'd be better off without this sexist blather, ironic or not. Help comes from London duo Audiofly. The weapons in question are the blips and bits of magnifying-glass minimal techno, and its a language in danger of becoming codified into blandness. Fortunately there's producers like Etienne and Audiofly around, laying down trump cards and revealing life in the old dog yet. The two tracks on 'Loose Lips' succeed by combining standard minimal intricacy with a brash immediacy. A-side 'Loose Limbs Sync Ships' starts with a bubbling bassline before tidy, tiny clicks, whirrs and gurgles dance in complex formations around the stereo spectrum. Soon we're spun off course with four rising analogue tones, wound in and out of focus by deft ADSR twiddling. These become the dominant focus until midway through, at four minutes, a whole new tune emerges, one filled with contrasting, competing, bouncing tones. Its like M-nus colliding with Trapez. 'Kambuca' on the B-side uses a similar palette and follows a similar trajectory but still manages a few surprises. In place of A's insectoid chatter is a melody/rhythm tapped out on plastic bottles and claves, a sweeping drone and little aqueous burps and echoes. The shift this time comes from a marimba drained of sustain and thicker daubs of electronic tone. These two squabble amid the detail before things wind up after seven and a half minutes. Both tracks are firmly of the less-is-more school and don't aim for euphoria, but the restless detours and use of incongruous, blunt sounds lift this safely above the rabble.