After a spot of unusual viral marketing, Fabric finally launches its new Houndstooth imprint with an intriguing EP courtesy of Berlin’s Call Super, aka JR Seaton. With Rob Booth of Electronic Explorations on board as head of A&R, Houndstooth’s mission statement is to venture further from the dancefloor, and its first release is a polished and intriguing sign of things to come. Opener Threshing Floor, which many will remember from Ben UFO’s Rinse FM show, seems to have its feet firmly planted in the club, but few will find this a problem. It’s a slow build; bedded wooden kicks are assaulted by washes of static and frayed scifi synthwork for a good four minutes before the 4/4 comes out in full force, the energy levels mounting steadily with an uneasy buzz and aggressive snares that play over the track’s final minutes.
While the opener is certainly a good techno track, listeners may be wondering whether the less dancey material promised by the press release is really going to materialise. It does; the rest of The Present Tense is occupied with deep, discursive meditations on techno tropes which emphasise Seaton’s knack for textured sonics and careful structure. Leosengor creates a curious atmosphere with pliable, fleet-footed synthwork and staccato drum patterns along with a host of keen details that create a real hypnagogic experience. Siglo Gray Vision, which opens the B-side, takes things a step further. Here the producer’s skill at structure and detailing comes to the fore, beginning with a run of subtle drum work and hypnotic, lilting synthwork. These elements slowly take on a menacing aspect, leading the listener down the rabbit hole into a world where the sounds of the first half return semi-recognisable; twisted into new, unsettling shapes.
This structural trick is repeated to still more impressive effect on closer No City of Choice, where a bed of burbling synths and clockwork hi-hats are suddenly overwhelmed by a rugged beat pattern and laser synth streaks. Despite the canny midway shift, it’s the details that you’ll keep coming back to: the muted cowbell, tinkling chimes and the great broken glass sample that announces the track’s transformation. It’s an impressive ending to an intriguing and individual EP, and should leave the listener curious for more material not only from Seaton but from Houndstooth too. With forthcoming releases promised from the likes of Al Tourrettes and Δkkord, listeners can feel assured that The Present Tense is just a taste of what’s to come.