New York's Richard J Valeo, whose Isomer Transition project sees him periodically delve into the weirder nether regions of artsy techno, is clearly not a man to keep his cards to his chest; a quick glance at his bustling website—a veritable treasure trove of overlapping words, images and sounds—is enough to make that clear. Happily, the same energetic approach is in evidence on his latest release, a digital-only double A-side that, contrary to prevailing trends, makes artsy techno sound both sexy and eminently danceable.
"Bright Lights, Big City" comes in two distinct flavours: the first is a dark, snaking ride into tech house's sleazy underbelly; the second a deep, blissed-out dub roller that sounds like the kind of thing Peter Van Hoesen would make on a valium-addled comedown. Kicking off with slowly building drones (the likes of which arch scaremonger Xela would be proud of), the "Blackout" version eases rather than bursts into action, but by the time its 4/4 stomp registers, it's hard not to be gripped. Elastic synths, foggy bass and pitch black atmospherics have made certain of that. The "Dub City" incarnation, meanwhile, wastes no time in hitting 4th (or, rather, 3rd) gear, and stays there for the extent of its seven minute duration as successive layers of percussion and panoramic washes of guitar build to create an atmosphere of dazed, sun-drenched euphoria. It's hard to pick a winner, and pretty pointless too: if you like your techno dreamy but propulsive, both tracks are bang on.
TracklistA Bright Lights, Big City (Blackout Mix)
B Bright Lights, Big City (Dub City Mix)