Mathew Jonson "Automaton" b/w "In the Stars"
Although he might not receive the accolades of, say, Ricardo Villalobos, Berlin-based Canadian Mathew Jonson has honed a labyrinthine corner of techno all his own. There are few producers whom one could imagine delivering tracks upwards of 30 minutes, but Jonson is absolutely one of them; while initially based on linear rhythms, his snakelike arrangements seem to constantly flex and twist into new shapes. Neither track on "Automaton" b/w "In the Stars" is anywhere near that long, but both bear these hallmarks, sounding like they could go on indefinitely.
Propulsive a-side "Automaton" is immediately marked by a gruff, acidic bassline, which continues throughout. Jonson runs tribal palpitations underneath the low end as he subtly modulates it, incorporating complementary slight pads and brassy stabs. "In The Stars," on the flip, is considerably brighter. The electro-tinged track is underlined by an easygoing interplay between a summery main melody and twinkling, arpeggiated accompaniments. Composed just as understatedly as its companion, it never undergoes any kind of major build or breakdown, as Jonson instead lets its elements linger in near-stasis.
And that is the producer's major skill, one he has been honing for more than a decade. These tracks occupy an odd space between repetitive tools and curvy, hypnotic main events. As a result, they may make the listener wonder whether or not Jonson is on autopilot. It won't matter to fans of his sound, but "Automaton" b/w "In the Stars" is unlikely to appeal to anyone who has avoided him previously.
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