Conforce Time Dilation EP
Ultra-proficient Dutchman Boris Bunnik has been focusing on his electro-themed Versalife project lately, and he’s set to release its debut LP in March. It's his more techno-oriented Conforce moniker that's brought him more accolades, however. Two albums strong at this point, Bunnik isn't about to let the project fall by the wayside. Time Dilation, recorded for occasional home Delsin, finds him continuing to push Conforce's steely muscularity.
That said, Conforce records are often more flexible than they're given credit for. On recent releases, particularly 2011's Escapism album, Bunnik dropped his tempos to a more narcotic pace, and widened their emotional pull with a range of gleaming synthetic motifs. Time Dilation, by contrast, is a mostly monochrome set of tracks. "Nomad" reminds of a busier Milton Bradley in its tripping drums and maze of delay trails, which are underscored by plume-like atmospherics, smothered organ, and malignant drones. On "Receiver," Bunnik continues the sense of austerity with a stealthy, hydraulic rhythm, squashing gusty pads and frantic bleeps in the process. On the flip, "Last Anthem" opens a rugged, stomping charge, which is softened by the entrance of forlorn, slow-moving pads. After a substantial build-up, the floodgates open and the track moves into a series of even more furious sections, again broken up by insertions of pads and drilling synths. "Embrace" closes the record on a sluggish tack, as its stumbling drums are buffered by a low-slung bassline and wet, dubbed-out chords. In spite of the looseness of Bunnik's initial arrangement, an odd tension arises as those elements are consumed by unnerving ambience; one waits for the rhythm to regain strength, but it just winds tighter until the end. Although it's less floor-friendly than the other three tracks, it showcases the subtle dynamism that's made Bunnik such a reliable operator.
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