- When German techno conglomerate Force Inc. shifted their stateside office to Montreal in the late nineties it was clear that something was up in the Quebec capital. With the 4/4 dominated Mutek festival and the exponential growth of domestic labels, Montreal was developing a sound as recognisable as that of Cologne or Detroit. Artists such as Akufen, Deadbeat, and Mike Shannon created a stuttered and glitchy, yet streamlined, techno which trickled down to influence American and European artists.
With production credits stretching back to 2002 and 12" releases on domestic labels Complott, Cynosure, and Epsilonlab, Montreal native Jeremy Petrus aka Mossa is firmly down with the scene, so that his debut LP 'Some Eat it Raw' sounds very much of its place is not surprising. One trait Montreal techno has always exhibited is a strong self-confidence and an almost indifference to other genres; thus, when the press blurb references jazz, folk and funk, one needs to treat it with caution.
Nonetheless, intro 'Defend Freedom' shows eclectic promise, a collection of random samples culled from TV, ending with a Sun-Ra styled chant. By the following 'Dedans Le Dash' however we know right where we are, all crisp kicks, sibilant claps and hats which dance around the offbeat, ornamented with glitch and fizz rattling like a cocktail shaker. Much of the album follows this well-worn path: 'Bottled Love' comes straight from the textbook, skipping along like a Force Inc. track from five years ago. Maracas and petite bongos beef up 'The Meat in You', it's kick unusually reverberant, while 'Black Bananas' skirts jazz-house territory with subtle dub traces and the clatter quotient upped, bashed out on pots, pans and kitchen sink.
The broken, garbled phonemes of Akufen are all over this, further processed but less creatively sourced. 'Parking Lot Dahlias' shoves a hip-hop verse into techno blocks until it emerges meaningless noise. 'Brazil 99' takes carnival chant for stroll, scattering it amid decentred blips and spring. 'Sure Kill' features electrohouse synth swells beside mournful cello sweeps bowed live by Petrus' friend Godot, while 'Schmutzige Seelen', the highlight, jams Brazilian berimbau samples in amongst marimbas, cowboy spurs, a huge two-step rolling bassline and stomping offbeat drums.
It's good to see Mossa aknowledging the debt that skittering techno of this sort owes to Latin music, but for the most part 'Some Eat It Raw' sticks to hermetic glitchy minimal, and like Akufen's Fabric mix its relentless restlessness grows exhausting. As singles most of these tracks are fine, functional tools, some of them outstanding, but fourteen of them collated like this is a lot to digest.