There is a time in an electronic music fan’s life when the phrases ‘modular jams’ or ‘direct to tape’ might start to pall a touch. Don’t get us wrong, we love that lo-fi analogue grit as much as the next quarter inch jack obsessive but, let’s face it, sometimes the old lug holes are chomping for a bit of that glistening clinical stuff. Even better if there are some distinct Detroit leanings thrown in for good measure too.
With “Presentism” Conforce delivers exactly that – picking up where 2010’s “Machine Conspiracy” left off with supple Motor City hewn constructions, deep melodics and on point sound design. That’s not to say there isn’t analogue gear aplenty all over this album, there undoubtedly is – it’s more the mood and atmosphere that comes from a producer in precise control of the machines rather than vice versa as can so often be the case in this recent modular frenzy.
Wistful glassy pads and strings provide serene and meditative back drops to Glideslope, Monomorphic and Realtime. Percussion and rhythms are mostly limited to kicks, subtle hats and impressive tricksy audio manipulations. Rarely does a snare add urgency, reducing the overall feeling throughout the album to an intangible sense of gradual uncoiling tension. If somebody were to ask you what ‘sub-aquatic’ techno sounds like, ‘Presentism’ is the direction you might point them in with the caveat that whilst it is, indeed, the sound of submerged electronics, there’s absolutely a foot on the dry and precise land of the dance floor too.
Alongside significant nods to Detroit, there’s plenty of European tinges – unsurprising given producer Boris Bunnik’s Dutch background. Sequence of Subcult feels like a kind of Mogadon induced Krust does techno, as beautiful manipulations of a simple riff squirm and metamorphose across a cryptic alien horizon. As on ‘Machine Conspiracy’ there’s also some familiar hints of dub techno here – see Motion Sequence and Space Time Continuum – pulling the album further into subaqueous territory.
‘Presentism’ delivers a meticulously crafted, organic aesthetic whilst allowing room for those, oh so missed, ‘classic’ techno melodies to breathe – and nailing the definition of this album’s title in the process: i.e. an interpretation of the past on the basis of modern concepts.
An excellent release for fans of Peter Van Hoesen, Monolake, Deepchord and all things Millsian and Belleville Three.
Head over to Delsin for more information on Presentism and to order a vinyl copy of the the album.
B1. Blue Note
B2. Artefact From A Higher Dimension
C1. Time Space Continuum
C2. Erased Connections With The Past
D1. Motion Sequence
D2. Sequence Of Subcult
E2. Ocean Lab
F2. Predictive Flow