The first of two promised Darkhaus volumes from veteran Sheffield trio The Black Dog arrives on Ostgut Ton's Unterton imprint, and predictably, it's something of a belter. "Council Flat Emptiness" is a rolling piece of analogue techno funk bathed in a wash of cascading dystopian synth textures; it's preceded by the "Stripped" version which pulls all the decorative elements back to just a simple combination of raw bass and lysergic stabs. Luke Slater makes a welcome return to his LB Dub Corp alias with his remix; giving it an industrial overhaul with mammoth kick drums, it puts everything except the juggernaut bassline into a digital blender, slowly building up to a crescendo of whirring bitcrushed noise which mingles with a surprisingly funky melody. In a landscape full of increasingly dry techno, The Black Dog are a consistent breath of fresh air.
Yorkshire natives, Warp legends and techno mavericks, The Black Dog return with one hell of a full-length on their own Dust Science Recordings - a firm, overwhelming presence on the dance-not-dance world since 2005. These guys have a long history of bleepy, wonky tones, starting from their first 12"s on Warp back in the mid-nineties and it's clear from this latest LP that they're showing no signs of stopping their incredible form. The 16 track album goes from the drone distortions of "Bolt No 6" to the gnarly, two-step muscle flex of "Atavistic Resurgence" and the sweet, watery deep house vibes on "Cult Mentality". Our personal favourites, however, have to be the off-kilter beat shredding on "Hymn For SoYo", the break-laden swirls of "Pray Crash I" and the sparse, echoing synth waves of "Internal Collapse" - the track itself being worthy of a full release. Sit back, unwind and let the many surprises of Tranklements take you on a ride...
Is it a case of age before beauty as electronic veterans The Black Dog line out with wunderkind Happa for the fifth and final release of Bleep's Green Series? Certainly the Sheffield trio's many years of experience come to the fore on "Scan 9 From SoYo", where subtle metallic pulses provide the basis for a bass that builds and builds until it resembles a steel mill in its stature and power. There are no such subtleties on Happa's "Red Place". Instead, the newcomer uses layer upon layer of drones and textures to cover a throbbing, distorted rhythm track that fizzles and crackles with all the energy of Lenny Dee on downers.
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