After a relatively quiet two-year period, Peter Van Hoesen returns with a new long-player – but will he fall victim to the ‘difficult second album syndrome’ that plagues so many artists? The Belgian producer’s last EP was called Transitional State, and the title sums up the approach on Perceiver and the general direction that Van Hoesen has been heading in for the past few years.
Listen to even his recent dance floor-based releases on Komisch, Ostgut and Time To Express and you’ll hear glitchy slivers of percussion amid the punishing, merciless basslines. Van Hoesen has emphasised this abstract side to his sound on Perceiver. “Objects From The Past” and “To Alter A Vector” unfold in slow motion, with textured sounds floating over lurching rhythms, breaking occasionally to allow the dubby beats come to the fore. Despite its title, “Europa_Unlit Bonfire” makes for the most laid back example of this direction, with chiming chords washing over a spiky percussive backdrop. But don’t mistake these abstract tendencies for signs that the affable Belgian is mellowing out.
“Attack On The Reality Principle” is his most intense composition so far, a gnarly bass competing with splintered glitchy beats as discordant stabs circle in overhead. Perceiver also has no shortage of grungy, functional warehouse techno, the standouts being the eerie synth-led “Inspection in Solitude”, the pumelling, brutal bass of “Decoder” and “Seven, Green & Black”, where Van Hoesen cakes his sub-bass in layers of viscous grunge.
In between balancing the functional and the abstract, the album also presents a third way, and it results in the most impressive track on the album; “Nefertiti Always Beyond” boasts nickel-plated drums and Peter’s trademark sub-bass, but there is something looser about the arrangement. What it may lack in precision it compensates with a sense of punky energy, its rhythm spasming like a Magazine song trapped in the body of a relentless techno arrangement. It’s the centre piece in a perception altering album.
1. Objects From The Past
2. To Alter A Vector
3. Seven, Green & Black
4. Spectral Participant
5. Attack On The Reality Principle
6. Nefertiti/Always Beyond
7. Inspection In Solitude
8. Rapture’s Coming
10. Attribute 39
11. Europa/Unlit Bonfire