- As someone whose tastes generally gravitate towards the deeper, housier shades of the 4/4 spectrum, the burst of the minimal techno bubble made for fascinating viewing. No other genre has been so weakened by the unlucky intersection of mainstream accessibility, the proliferation of desktop studio technology and that most treacherous of turncoats—coolness. As reformed minimalists back away with their hands up, post-minimal-minimal is left to refute accusations of cookie-cutter this and Ableton-preset that.
The unknown artist Och, from the new offshoot label of London's Autoreply, is a compelling witness for the defense, providing some of the suspense, attitude and musicality that minimal is often accused of lacking. "Stops Out" is inhabited by a walking-on-eggshells tension that wrings the atmosphere out of its empty spaces, while remaining entirely aloof. Like a modern day nod to Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams," it features an affecting Hammond organ sample as its centerpiece, but eschews that track's breakbeat for simple, thrumming deep techno, and snips of warehouse-era vocal samples and deconstructed drum solos, both of which thunder and recede of their own free will.
Barebones syncopation, shimmying hi-hats and high vs. low call-and-response synths give "Stops In" a skeletal afro-tech swing, before a more traditional tech-house beat eventually drags it into full view, surrounded by a fog of chilly pads. Anyone who has flirted with minimal in the past or present ought to pencil Och onto their watch list. He or she may not be reinventing the wheel, but they're reminding us that there's still some tread in it yet.
A Stops Out
B Stops In