Since being made aware of Catartsis and Ōtone’s ygam imprint a few years back, we’ve been dipping into their catalogue every time we’ve felt the desire to listen to intelligent techno and experimental music. After something of a hiatus over the pandemic, the label is back in business, with Catartsis helming a solo EP entitled ‘Acier Leste‘.
In some senses it’s almost too reductive to refer to ygam’s sound as ‘techno’, but it’s the term of best fit when describing the label’s music. Both Ōtone and Catartsis approach their productions — those of a dancefloor nature, and elsewhere in their field recordings and experimental sound explorations — from a perspective as experimental and creative as it is primed to twist a dancefloor into motion.
‘Acier Leste‘ is a prime example. Constructed from warped and alchemised recordings of struck, pinged, plucked and hammered metal, it is nonetheless continents away from run-of-the-mill industrial techno that wields these flavours into aggressive and overbearing patterns. Instead we find lithe and nimble constructions that beg for movement, rather than demand it of the listener, and which retain the vast sonic dynamics of the source material.
‘Un pas dans le passé‘ (‘a step in the past’, en français) demonstrates this point as equally as the rest, but with perhaps a little more flair. Muted sheet metal hums beneath the ever-shifting percussion patterns, adding a melodic undertone that harmonically slides between the deep kicks and the mirrored surfaces of the main drums with a sly subtlety. Within the track’s iron casing liquid rhythm is key, each beat leading the foot towards the next step with a tact and nuance that mystifies — complex, and with a quality that’ll see it endure listening time and time over, ‘Un pas dans le passé‘ is the the mineral pill we’ve been waiting for in the dancefloor for quite some time.
‘Acier Leste’ is scheduled for release 25 March via ygam. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Réminiscence du galetas
4. Un pas dans le passé
5. Témoin du sang