Review: The Astroakoustic EP provides the first sounds projected by Rory St John since his Epoch EP on Singularity Recordings in 2011. St John delivers three versions of "Astroakoustic" which respectively canvas industrial and drone, techno, electronica and drum and bass styles. The entire EP hints at inspirations from the likes of Mike Parker, Ancient Methods, Autechre and dBridge, with Christopher De Babalon's remix of "Astroakoustic Three" sharing the same haunted, frenetic terror of Aphex Twin's "Come To Daddy". Diasiva's remix of the same track also draws on similar influences, while Duran Duran Duran's brooding remould of "Astroakoustic Two" is creepy, but also decidedly groovy.
Review: The greatest thing about the new wave of techno producers is that the best ones feel unrestrained by genres, tempos or rhythmic structures. Rory St John is a perfect example: on Epoch, the Dublin producer flirts with the kind of abstract electronic nuances that Autechre are known for. "Mechanical Prayer" is a menacing glitch-hop arrangement pushed to the edge, while "Femme B" sees droning frequencies convulsing over shredded metallic drums. Makaton provides a fittingly skewed and splintered take on "Femme B", but there is another, more direct side to St John's approach: "Time Overdrive", with its breathy sytnhs and loose leaf percussion provides a perfect balance between classic Detroit techno and modern Berlin sounds, while "Noughtsmith" applies the splintered, distorted approach of "Femme B" to a peak time arrangement.
Review: It's true that bad news sells, but how does this apply to techno music? On the evidence of Predictions, there should be an audience for the more visceral end of the form. Filip Xavi's "Arcade Psycho" is a grinding, banging affair, its jarring riffs and firing percussion leading the arrangement to a thrilling finale. Mattias Fridell's "Universal Domain Analysis" is cut from a similar cloth, with the added bonus of eerie interference in the background. Despite this, the highlight is Rory St John's "Sadbat". Less intense than the other tracks, its linear, metallic rhythm is infused with acid blips and a muffled female vocal that guarantees it is the most disturbing of them all.