- Canadian producer Adam Marshall has been in the techno game for a good ten years now, but it seems as if he's only just getting the props that he deserves, contributing recent remixes for Crosstown Rebels and Rekids. This release sees him welcomed back into fellow Canuck Mike Shannon's Cynosure fold for the second time, but if you're expecting the same dark, bass-heavy minimal house that he was peddling on his Remote Culture EP from back in 2005, then you might be a little disappointed.
The b-side cuts are closer to Marshall's previous output, with the charging percussion of "Rose Mountain" quickly finding a rolling techno groove that should get feet shuffling, whilst a bubbling electric piano line provides a jazzy cerebral counterpoint to the straight up beats. Occasional snippets of Lisa Stansfield's vocal from Coldcut's "People Hold On" (the same sample that can be found on Nookie's hardcore anthem "Give a Little Love" from 1992) are weaved in and out of the mix, but just when the beat gets taken up a gear, the track sharply winds itself down. This may have been due to space constrictions on the vinyl, but it's a shame that the track wasn't given more space to breathe and evolve over a few more minutes. The chunky bouncing bassline and house-flavoured percussion of B2 cut "MFB Flex" is aimed more squarely at the dance floor, and should provide minimal house DJs with a great tool to lift their sets up should they find themselves going too deep.
The real gem of this EP, however, lies on the A-side. "North At Night" is a bit of a strange track for both Marshall and Cynosure; partly due to its delicate emotional melodies, but mostly due to the fact that it doesn't possess a 4/4 kick drum throughout its entire duration. Opening with a delicate delayed loop, handclaps and hats give it a light but sturdy percussive backdrop before the real magic starts to happen. According to Marshall, the track was inspired by the "incredible tapestry of tundra and taiga which constitutes the arctic and sub arctic" of Canada, but the lead synth line that starts to unfurl shortly after the track's start is anything but cold. The looped backing provides the perfect backdrop for the lush melodies to develop, before the drums take a detour into skippy broken techno territory for the closing stretch. It's a little bit like a trancey Kompakt-style techno cut spliced with minimalist UK garage beats, and if you're looking for an evocative cut for the warm-up or the early hours, you should definitely check this one out.
A North At Night
B1 Rose Mountain
B2 MFB Flex