Kris Baha
Cyber Body Music Vol​.​1
Kindcrime Recordings

While producer Kris Baha has frequently been lumped in with the broader techno-body movement, his more recent productions have moved away from that sound’s meat and potatoes combination of classic EBM and brutalist techno towards a smoother, more cyber-influenced sound. The Australian ex-pat producer’s new release, the appropriately titled Cyber Body Music Vol​.​1 has far more in common with millennial industrial club sounds than anything else, and while still geared for DJ spins, it feels more song-based in many regards. Take for example opener “Digital Shadows” whose focus beyond its fast moving bassline and varying arrangement of kicks and precision stereo-effects is on keeping its arrangement moving from section to section. Its not the only track that feels like in another era it would have some heavily processed ESL lyrics being sung over it, as the sleek “Double Helix Overdrive” and the breaksy “Hypercortex” each recall the hotness of classic Empirion remixes, with the former especially capturing some traces of big beat in between its various builds and breakdowns. When the release does go straight for the high-octane Matrix-soundtrack jugular on “Systems1.2” its completely earned – rather than Baha turning in a rote imitation of the sound, it’s obvious that its a natural endpoint of where the producer’s own interests and ideas have taken them, reverse-engineering retro futurism one trip through the cyberspace at a time.

Aesthetical/Opal Tapes

Techno taking on ambient characteristics even while retaining a high-BPM beat focus is nothing new, but on the other side of the recent wave of TBM coming from producers native to both EBM and techno it’s refreshing to hear a record like Purgate’s Transcend, which completely eschews traditional paths to any form of dancefloor immediacy. Instead, the eight tracks on the project’s first full length place their kicks in broad, echoing, rubbery halls of liquid reverb, making it difficult to distinguish a new beat from one ricocheting back from across the submerged landscape of “Starlight” or “Dusk”. For those not aware, Purgate is the project of Frédéric Arbour, known predominantly today for heading up dark ambient/experimental label Cyclic Law, so that prioritizing of ambiance over hooks or builds is no surprise. Even at its most direct, as on tracks like “Solar Flare”, Transcend trades in a hauntological or at least uncanny nestling of its kicks within strange beds of smoke and vapour, perhaps midway between early Burial and psy-trance era Klinik in mood, if not in literal rhythmic structure.