- Singaporean producer Xhin has shown himself to be adept at razor-sharp flashpoint techno, where the devil's in the details and the details are downright explosive. One of the crown jewels of the Stroboscopic Artefacts roster, Xhin lives up to and beyond his considerable potential with new album Sword, but first, we're treated to a remix EP courtesy of some of the most daring names in techno at the moment.
Surgeon is up first, reworking Sword highlight "Teeth" into a nasty sawtooth shrieker. Where the original tended to veer back and forth in a frightened panic, Surgeon attempts to pin it down and lets it writhe itself raw instead, scratching off the coat of chrome and leaving behind uncomfortably raw distortion in its stead. Sound engineering duo Dadub take on the album's penultimate track "Foreshadowed," keeping that track's preference for wading in and out of black pools of silence but reinforcing its percussive limbs with a tribalesque syncopation. Like most of the duo's unfathomably detailed work, it's as much about the space it creates as the sound.
Pfirter provides the closest thing to normalcy, underlining "Vent" with a determined 4/4 thud. Like Surgeon, he takes pleasure in violently scraping the shine off of Xhin's sterling original. Perc gets the last word with his moody expansion of album interlude "Insides," referencing the sinister undertones of his Wicker & Steel album and bringing those early electronic, dark industrial influences to the fore for a three-dimensional soundscape of sound effects and plodding drums. It's the only remix in the package that feels as imaginative as anything on Sword, but at the least they provide a more familiarly "techno" entryway into the stunningly autonomous world the producer is about to unveil with Sword.
A1 Teeth (Surgeon Remix)
A2 Foreshadowed (Dadub Remix)
B1 Vent (Pfirter Remix)
B2 Insides (Perc Remix)