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Marc Houle Drift

It's unfortunate that Berlin's Marc Houle is probably best known for "Techno Vocals," his cheeky 2007 stab at the trend of pitching down vocals in minimal dance music. The plodding parody of that piece lies in direct contrast to the stark, depressing tones of most of the tracks on Drift, his fourth full-length for the Minus imprint. The glassy longing of Pantha Du Prince's Black Noise is a nice reference point for this eight-song collection, but Houle dives into darker, more claustrophobic territory than Hendrick Weber ever has.

Thus, while the delayed guitar lines on a track like "Sweet" allow for feelings of longing, the piece is quickly followed by the album's title track, a searing, near-terrifying club workout that recalls a more refined Pom Pom, or a more intense Robert Hood—deep pads ride below wormy bass and high-frequency, siren-like scrapings. The sweaty nightmare continues on tracks like "The Next," which contains bass that is so heavily delayed, it brings back memories of bad acid trips. While pieces like "Hitcher Man" and "Hammering" are more straightforward minimal tracks, Houle bleeds the album's pieces so seamlessly that such pedestrian moments don't take away from the overall feeling of dark paranoia, and dirty, sweaty club spaces. Drift is most certainly Houle's best work to date, as well as the perfect compliment to the alienating cold of wintertime.

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