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  • Filed under: Review
  • 10/30/2013

Benjamin Damage 4600 EP

Benjamin Damage is a pretty good techno alias, though it's somewhat misleading considering the UK-born, Berlin-based producer's music. It may deliver a cinder block to the head, but he's taken the time to hand-felt the surface. That means we're just as likely to encounter one of his cuts in Cassy's sublime, Ibiza-informed Fabric 71 mix as in the company of Modeselektor's hand-picked 50Weapons rave-wrecking crew. Given that, we can either choose to read the toughened-up sound of his 4600 EP as a reaction against certain reviews of his debut LP, Heliosphere, which accused him of sacrificing depth for range, or simply as the kind of concentration demanded by an EP, particularly one based around the sound of the rare ETI 4600 synth. Either way, it's hard to argue with the results, as the record offers three tracks of Damage at his most punishing and one of him at his most lulling.

"ETI Rework" takes the basic, familiar form of a storming techno cut. Damage pushes it as far as he can imagine, turning it into something like the cratered techno equivalent of a jack track, an experiment taking simple principles to an extreme. The song bears straight down on the listener, but it doesn't take itself too seriously; the garbled synth blurt at the center sounds bodily on its own, until an accumulation of acid-gouged layers encase it in scrap metal. Twisting in the solar breeze, the drifting "Nebula" is an unashamed and gorgeous chillout. Its wispy, cosmic pastoralia is unguarded enough to make vintage Border Community sound cold-blooded. "Revolve" and "Recursion" double back to the first track's loop-techno template. Both "Re-" tracks feature details that soften the edges, but it's hard to get unstuck from the reverie induced by "Nebula."

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