When your discography of 12"s and EPs reads like a who's-who of top-tier, forward-thinking electronic labels—in this case Hessle, Hotflush, Tempa, and Rush Hour—the next logical progression in one's career is to issue a proper full-length, right? It appears Cosmin TRG has reached that point, pulling together what could have been a few great singles or EPs, and compiling them into one 40-plus minute package of dark, futuristic bass for his debut album.
Fortunately, Simulat does not find Cosmin TRG overreaching his abilities—a trap many an established producer has fallen into when issuing their debut LP—but instead sees the recent Berlin transplant hunkering down deeper into his techno-infused bass-music hybrids while also taking some time to shine a light on the lesser-explored aspects of his talents. The deep, brooding club music we're accustomed to hearing from the prolific producer (he's already dropped three releases this year) is the anchor that holds Simulat together, as exemplified by album bookends "Amor Y Otros" and "Form Over Function," two intensely meditative sonic excursions which utilize a host of complimentary loops to build and expand, gradually revealing their substantial depth. Where TRG stretches, as on the instantly memorable "Less of Me, More of You" and the far-too-short-lived "Samsika" (which accounts for a mere 90 seconds of audio), he stays within the bounds of futuristic bass music, but manages to insert some tasteful melodic twists into his well-paced structures, resulting in moments of rather palpable contemplation. Early on, Simulat most effectively straddles the deep and dark and the melodically emotive on "Ritma," a stunningly patient piece of propulsive house which anyone interested in whipping crowds into chord-induced frenzies would be wise to consider adding to their arsenal.
Nevertheless, the extra space for new adventures made possible by the full-length format does bring a slight lack of cohesion. The two ambient outings, "Infinite Helsinki" and "Interstellar Inflight Entertainment," while intriguing, just seem bizarrely out of place in the tracklist. And although the individual songs are expertly paced, moving from tune to tune can at times feel like jumping back and forth between a handful of distinct stylistic ideas, making it hard for the album to ever settle into a comfortable flow.
Considering the few head-scratching moments and mildly disorienting momentum changes, it's safe to say that Simulat isn't a perfect album. But Cosmin TRG's talent is nothing if not immense, and when given 12 opportunities to present his ideas, the veteran producer has no trouble shining, further proving that the bass-music world should be grateful to have such a prolific and consistent producer in its ranks.