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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/08/2013

MGUN Some Tracks

A large part of the appeal of Manuel Gonzales' tracks is surely the Detroit producer's ample use of distortion. Much of his catalog as MGUN, which draws on his city's multifaceted dance-music tradition, has arrived caked in grit, the results sounding like warped relics found in the gutter, contorted by time and environment. Nevertheless, Gonzales' music retains an urgency that makes him a worthwhile contributor to the contemporary scene. Some Tracks, his latest EP, is not an exceptional entry, but it offers a decent overview of the artist's style.

To be fair, Some Tracks isn't nearly as reverent to the past as some of his other records (none of which are all-out rehashes). Gonzales is doing a fine job of creating and exploring his own signatures. An obvious highlight is "Fiber" (and its redux "Taft"), a punchy, off-balance stepper that truly deserves better than to be lumped in as "electro," but that's the genre it hews closest to. It's the latest in a line of exciting takes on the sound, following up his wonderful "Laser Jam" from the recent Blunt Run EP, and several pieces from Kyle Hall's The Boat Party. The piece features some tinny, echoing stabs, but its hook is its bassy bump, which crisply knocks with just the right amount of swing. Elsewhere, "Mask" pairs corroded drums and a spectral, hovering melody, while "Mean While" makes the most of its few elements, with shuddering, dubby drums underpinning a line that moves like a radio signal squealing in and out of coherence. On "Extort," the producer adds frantic, creaking synths to an aggressive pace, lacing it with flanged snare bursts. As much as that track might touch on blueprints laid by the likes of Steve Poindexter, Gonzales' approach here seems just as influenced by noise music—it's feral, gruff, and piercingly redolent of the dilapidated Rust Belt from which it came.

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