Ambivalent

“Jackson”

PLUS8118 scanZoom inLabelPlus 8
Cat. No.PLUS8118
FormatEXCL12"E
Orders fromFri, 03 Jun 2011
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Review

Although firmly entrenched in the Minus camp for years, this latest four track EP from US born, Berlin based Ambivalent marks a widening of his sonic remit. As such it arrives on the broader techno outpost that is Plus 8, and can be added to the likes of Clink for whom the man known as Kevin McHugh has also recorded. Carefully blending the soul of his American roots with a European propensity for machine music, Ambivalent’s ever evolving sonic blueprint here explores some of his most fluid grooves to date. ‘Jackson’ wastes no time in setting its stall out as a rolling tech cut swollen in a satisfying sub bass. As the track unfolds, though, it’s the spaces around the lolloping kicks and ticking hits that comes alive: alive with the endless crescendo of a hurried, muted organ sound that mesmerises as it cuts through the mix. With the arrival of some long-tailed and optimistic chords in the second half, it’s a masterfully economical use of colour that brings the whole thing alive with a subdued euphoria. Similar in construct is ‘Train to Brooklyn’, but this time the melody is much freer, falling up, down and side to side with an inebriated charm. Importantly, it adds a sonic looseness to the otherwise locomotive beats below. ‘Lear ’ – as the name suggests - is the more bullish sound that comes after too much inebriation: the beats boom and bash, hustling both each other and the echoing percussive line above. It’s tight, choppy stuff that would wake you from a moment of ennui with a loveable machismo. Striking a sweet spot between abstract digitalism and organic warmth once again is the digitalonly ‘Ghost Note’. With peppered hits and hats, claps and cow bells marking out the track’s cavernous sonic architecture, mysterious effects swoop in and out as de-tuned piano notes unfold with a devilish dynamism that both gives this track its name, and characterises the ‘floor facing EP overall.

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