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  • Filed under: Review
  • 07/25/2013

Randomer Ruffa

With the release of Turbo's New Jack Techno last year, Tiga's long-standing label signaled a shift away from slightly tongue-in-cheek electro—its signature sound for more than a decade—toward something rougher. Driven by a core roster of young artists, and led by the likes of Clouds and Sei A, the compilation was more indebted to '90s warehouses than buzzing Turbo anthems like "Sunglasses at Night." Continuing along this gravel-strewn path, the label is now presenting north London producer Randomer, whose Ruffa EP inaugurates a trio of releases Turbo has dubbed the Warehouse Series. Listening to his tunes, it seems that both the EP and the series have been aptly named.

Randomer has appeared on Turbo once before, transforming Clouds' "Spastik"-like "Consciousness" into something far ravier. Unlike his techno-revival contemporaries, Randomer's more liable to channel hardcore breaks than heads-down introspection, and the title track seems to have been manufactured from the same tools he employed for the Real Talk EP on Numbers and last year's We Laugh, We Scream for Hemlock—the same clanking drums and hyper-distorted, growling synths are present. But "Ruffa," for all its aggression, is sparser than both, sending a simple, one-finger melody through three octaves, and underpinning it with a Drumattic Twins-style breakbeat. It's not until the sub drops at the one-minute mark, with a wall of ghetto bass pushing everything into the red with a gritty crackle, that "Ruffa" transforms into something slightly scary, the track offering so much low-end pressure that it feels as though every whomp is sucking the air out of the room. It's a crushing force, and it grows on each cycle, until the distortion swamps the track in the final minute and everything melodic is almost entirely consumed.

Randomer takes a similar tack on "No Hook," although its beats are straighter and its low-end rumble is slightly less abrasive—but only slightly. Rather than the kiddie-keyboard melody of the title track, "No Hook" appropriately opts for something more rhythmic than tuneful, with steel-mill hats and a snare that sounds like a blacksmith hammering an anvil, both slicing through gated synth buzzes and 808 rimshots. Fellow Londoner J Tijn keeps the warehouse atmosphere but calms the freneticism on his "No Hook" remix, filtering his synths hard before opening them up judiciously in time with a hangar-filling hoover. In the latter half, he tempers the Dave Clarke stomp with dubby pads, but it neuters things slightly. As with the rest of the release, this is music that works best when any pretense at subtlety is wholly discarded.

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