With releases on Horizontal Ground and the Black Sun offshoot, it would appear that this mysterious Manchester duo’s art is rooted in the shadowy sounds of anonymous hand-stamped techno. As is often the case however, the reality is somewhat different: their latest release, on Bristol’s Idle Hands, is as much of a natural fit, and says a lot about the blurry, indistinct nature of the relationship between techno and bass.
Indeed, the title track embodies the collision of aesthetics developed in Berlin and Bristol. At the centre of “Hydrothermal” is a minimal, bleepy techno groove, like Sahko in playful mode, but it’s the understated rhythm that lurches in and out of AnD’s 4/4 beats that make it so alluring. Add in some detuned but plaintive chords and “Hydrothermal” sounds more like a more natural combination of influences than a warehouse full of dub techno records.
“Lights Down” is even more adventurous: based on a more abstract rhythm bolstered by layers of dissected percussion, it’s hard to ignore the bass at the arrangement’s core. It sounds like AnD have taken one of the brute force pummelling rave basslines from CJ Bolland’s 4th Sign masterpiece and dropped the tempo, in the process refining and rarefying it but without losing ts impact. As new explorations on existing themes go, Hydrothermal takes some beating.