Posted by: Nick Walters | June 15, 2014

Tobias: A Series Of Shocks

No… not THAT Tobias…

The Quietus has written an excellent review of this album from the point of view of the dance music expert. I am not a dance music expert by any means – I love Underworld, Orbital, the Orb, Leftield, New Order and Yello, and have the odd album by Daft Punk, Air, Royskopp, Basement Jaxx, Burial etc. Only the most popular and high profile dance music ever comes my way. So what led me to this? Well to be honest it was the Quietus review. From that, I knew that this album would fit right in to my tastes in dance – mainstream, well-produced, leaning towards the weird. And, hey ho, so it did! So here is a review from a non-dance expert, a dilettante, an amateur. It begins with Entire, a gentle tinkling piano thing like Philip Glass meets underworld. This burbles on merrily for a while lulling the listener into a false sense of security as it is completely unrepresentative of the album (and indeed was not included on the vinyl version). Second track Heartbeat really kicks things off with a ‘four to the floor’ beat, as I believe they say, with an incredibly deep speaker-busting bass drum pulse. The rest of the tracks are variations on this theme. The strength, as with the best of this sort of stuff, lies in the layers of programmed loops and repetitions which build and build and circle and prowl around each other to exhilarating effect. This is best demonstrated on Instant which features a nagging little riff which sounds almost out of time with the rhythm, causing a delicious dizzying sensation. Ya Po is the biggest head-cruncher here, a relentless  juddering aural assault that sounds like a machine going wrong. If is the most sinister track – its descending, relentless bass riff is deeply unsettling, and it is circled by a swirling, hesitant synth melody and punctuated by a hoarse voice shouting ‘IF!’ To sum up: intelligent techno that will delight both the dance geek and the casual listener.

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