Untold Change in a Dynamic Environment Part 2 - XLR8R

Untold Change in a Dynamic Environment Part 2

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The second piece in Untold's Change in a Dynamic Environment trilogy for his own Hemlock imprint finds the producer further showcasing the robust and rugged sound he expertly displayed on the series' first offering with two new tracks firmly built upon 4/4 rhythms. As to be expected, the pair of tunes here has much more in common with its existing ominous trilogy counterpart than any other release in Untold's catalog, possibly deeming it unfit for those who shy away from bass music's more techno-minded explorations.

"Caslon" begins the effort with a punishing beat, leading with a pumping, massive kick and a single off-percussion hit. From the beginning, the a-side bears comparison to the productions of someone like Blawan, but where his creations are more inclined toward raw tones, Untold seems to favor space and density. Even in the song's initial moments, which feature only a lone kick drum, reverb trails are an integral part of the sound, and as the track begins to build, the distant repeats of delays and slow decays of reverb fill a wide sonic spectrum. However, these do not serve to smear the sound, but to add dimensionality, as each layer of percussion and sequenced synth is sculpted and compartmentalized into unique corners of the stereo field. "Caslon" never really launches full throttle, but instead builds and simmers at a steady pace, with its sequenced synth lines gradually tweaked, at times rising above the swirling progression with an extra gliding push into higher octaves. The strength of the song's sonic properties and the intricacies weaved between the patterns of its components make the tune's eight-plus-minute run almost imperceivable—"Caslon" effectively sucks the listener into its world before gradually leading them back to reality with a masterful touch.

The b-side, "Breathe," exists in decidedly deeper territory. Again, Untold chooses to build his track slowly and steadily, but here applies a skipping feel to the rhythm, one that bounces back and forth between a deep bassline with a sharp attack and a delicately upbeat hat pattern. Pads, which at times sound like sticks run along the insides of long metal tubes, pile on top of each other, occasionally joined by ghostly piano phrases and cascading FM synthesis. "Breathe" is somehow both dark and dreamy—the sub-rattling bassline gives the tune weight while everything else seems to float ethereally above, just barely remaining attached to its rhythmic anchors.

Both Part 1 and Part 2 (and likely Part 3) of Untold's series see the producer exploring new territory while not entirely leaving his past in the dust. The flair for intricate, sometimes unpredictable assemblages of percussion which marked his earlier output are definitely still present on Change in a Dynamic Environment, but are not left so far out on their own. Now, their disjointed patterns are part of larger, more expansive productions and have been molded to fit between a steady four-on-the-floor beat, making them easier to follow, perhaps, but no less essential within the context of Untold's repertoire.