- Minimal, as a genre, might be over, but brain-curdling techno lives on. In fact, assuming you haven't had your head suck up your backside for the past twelve months, you'll have noticed a dizzying upsurge in the stuff. Take this: James Ruskin's second release of the year, and—dubious genre-tags aside—a true headfuck of a record if ever there was one.
The A-side sees Ruskin draft in fellow Brit-tech stalwart Luke Slater, AKA Planetary Assault Systems, for a (typically) synapse-melting exercise in dancefloor oblivion. His remix of "The Outsider" is exactly as you'd expect: dense, clunky and prone to self-harm, periodically dissolving in a haze of white noise as a jangling lead melody struggles to keep it contained. The original, by comparison, takes things easy, spinning a Klockian web of off-key notes around sizzling hats and the kind of fathomless, End-of-Time kick that marked out predecessors "Sabre" and "Massk." It's mesmerising, and pips Slater's effort by some margin.
B-side "Solution," meanwhile, pips both. Executed with the minimum of fuss, its delayed kick pattern hints ever so subtly at 2-step, but sticky hats, deafening bass and pitch black blasts of horn keep things firmly in the "warehouse techno" bracket, while drowned voices and a trickling lead melody—both emblematic of the headfuck sound—take things deep into the darkside. It's grim, for sure. But if it's grim techno you're after, you'll find little better this year.
A The Outsider (Luke Slater's ME Remix)
B1 The Outsider