Pacta Sunt Servanda
The new EP from politically-minded Columbian producer SPÆCIALISTA makes as good a case as any for why nationalism still sucks in 2020: anarchists have better beats. The four original tracks on Pacta Sunt Servanda could generally be categorized as mid-tempo EBM, but it’s through a healthy amount of new beat, acid, and even big beat influence that Pacta Sunt Servanda gains its colourful charm (as one might expect from a producer who recently rebuilt an old Ice MC tune). Wet bass programming, ghostly flits of synth, and densely-packed percussive breaks all come together around well-paced and extravagantly constructed tracks. Anything that can get us thinking of Chimo Bayo and FORCES simultaneously, as “1N5UR63N73” does, has our full attention. The five remixes appended here aren’t quite as fun or varied as their originals, but the Estado Critico Remix deserves plaudits for finding a hybrid witch house/industrial metal perspective on “Pandemic Dance”. It should also be noted that while Pacta Sunt Servanda runs a bit costlier than most digital releases, it should be worth well more than that cost to DJs looking to add some new heat.
RECON’s new double LP Broken Stairs is absolutely stacked, in multiple senses. As a pay what you want package it has a tremendous amount of value; beyond a record’s worth of new originals in post-industrial and rhythmic noise styles (many featuring big name collaborators), there’s a whole extra album’s worth of remixes by the likes of Cevin Key, Caustic, Ah Cama Sotz, Cerevello Electtronico, W.A.S.T.E. and several others. Musically the tracks on the LP are groovy and atmospheric – see the classic Puppy drums on the foreboding and sample laden “Orange Goo” – or full on stompers, like the speaker shredding “tracert_” or “Resist”. There’s also some pretty interesting combinations thereof; check the Claus Larsen impassioned vocal on the crunchy “Broken Stairs”, or the Manufactura feature “Lost Horizon” where distant drones and subbass mix with a weary vocal to emotional effect. With so many collaborations and stylistic variations on display, it’s worth noting that project mastermind Stevin Kerpics does yeoman’s work keeping the record flowing as a unified listening experience, positioning tracks both moody and aggressive in proximity and finding links that connect them in terms of feeling and instrumentation.