- There's something deliciously entertaining about watching experts try their hand at new forms. Michael Jordan hitting a baseball, John McEnroe chatting it up as a cable TV talk show host, Diddy doing dance music. They usually get it nominally right because they're talented – and have the drive to make everything they do as good as possible. But they never seem like naturals, like they aren't mentally calculating what they're doing at every moment.
Hearing Ali 'Dubfire' Shirazinia's paean to minimal techno, the recently released 12-minute one-sided 'Ribcage,' is much the same. The Deep Dish producer gets every element right: the stalwart bassline that won't relent, the ping-ponged synth permanently bouncing back between channels as it slowly pitches upward, the hi-hat that emerges to signal the arrival of "movement," but ultimately it's a tool, albeit one that works wonders for DJs lazily searching for one – or a bathroom break.
Tools are tools, though – and that means that 'Ribcage' ends up sounding like nothing at all. The best minimal techno still finds room for character within its few elements. From Richie Hawtin's Plastikman disconnecting his brain to Matthew Dear's False and his garbled shouts, there are ways to express personality within the genre. Even within its tools. 'Ribcage,' however, has none of these things. Cynics might call it a cash-in; I'd just call it a bore.