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Mike Shannon: Under the Radar

Mike Shannon and his Cynosure label have been around for a while now, and although they’ve yet to register a full-blown hit, they consistently deliver difficult but deeply rewarding avant-techno fare. Shannon worked with vocalist Fadilla Demirtas on the excellent ‘Sweets’, a haunting, esoteric workout, that confounded and pleased in equal measure, and she returns on ‘Under the Radar’, a title that could well encapsulate the Canadian’s long presence in electronic music.

Shannon’s original cut adopts a more techy beat than previous outings, and he once again puts Demirtas to good use, coming across as a house diva for the Arab world. Villalobos too, provides a neat fit with Cynosure, and his remix is a welcome, if underwhelming addition. Harking back to the not-quite-walking, not-quite jogging pace of Alcachofa, he shows there’s still life to his micro-house aesthetic. The highlight though, is Deadbeat’s slow-burner (with which Shannon began his FACT mix), a sultry beast that couples a steppas growl with twinkly chimes for over four minutes before relapsing into a crunchy, ritualistic release. Rozzo plums Motorcity Drum Ensemble territory for his take, all conveyor belt chords, cymbals, and a hint of hand claps.

The great revelation of the EP however, is not the beats, all competent as you please, but the way in which each artist makes Demirtas sound so different. Part Muezzin, part diva, with just a hint of Dancehall chanteuse, Shannon has found a more than suitable accomplice for his musical skulduggery. Under the radar? Probably not for long.