- The birth of Bristol label Idle Hands nicely predicted the resurgence of house in the dub city, and its surprising overture towards techno with Szare's "Action Five" only seemed to further widen its purview. The well-known record shop's eponymous imprint has again reached into the same pool of smoky UK techno talent, this time pulling out Mancunian duo AnD for one of their strongest releases yet.
AnD have perhaps had a little trouble separating themselves from the ever-growing pack of UK 4/4 denizens since emerging on Horizontal Ground (their 2009 dubsteppy one-off notwithstanding), but it feels like with every release they've gotten closer to standing alone. These tracks are more about the tension between the sounds than the sounds themselves, which are mostly in line with other UK techno insurgents Shifted, Sigha and that ilk, if not even more reduced. Positioning itself on a whisper-quiet thud that sounds not too dissimilar to Szare's onionskin techno, "Hydrothermal" slowly builds to a steady pulse that flickers bravely in the enveloping, sun-blotting darkness. It's that gaping chasm—not even a proper bassline—that defines the tune until the last two minutes when the other elements finally kick in, ethereal pressure valves that sound more like much-needed release than chord progressions. "Lights Down" suspends itself above the same void of silence, but its spasming bassline (think AFX's "Digeridoo") and woodpecker percussion hold it together well enough to keep it throbbing along nicely for a percolating eight minutes.
B Lights Down