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Peter Van Hoesen: Life Performance

Tackling the techno long player is a troublesome proposition. Stick true to template and you end up crafting what is effectively a very long and fatiguing EP. Choose to dilute your sound into ambient and melodic strains and you risk moving too far away from the sound you are trying to encapsulate. There is a third path to take, however, and that is the one Peter Van Hoesen has chosen to walk.

What techno needs more than anything is context; the bounce of sound off exposed brick, the unrelenting metronome and sweat drenched dancefloors. This is exactly where Peter Van Hoesen has pitched Life Performance. Not feint at recreating the live experience, the album was recorded live at Tresor on a bank of synthesisers and a pair of iPads.

Bar the briefest of introductions, Life Performance sets out its manifesto for jugular techno and rigidly sticks to it. Individual tracks start to have less of a meaning as it all becomes about the transition of elements. The introduction of Assembly‘s rubbery kick, after an industrial and militant opening salvo, precludes a passage of twisted and tormenting synths through Azur and Deceive_Perform. The tension builds up right through to Causal Condition, and cuts away into the heartbeat driven Force Withdrawn, grasping you in the palm of of Van Hoesen’s hand as you are squeezed even further by the meaty Protocol. After that, Life Performance decides that it is done with you, with Ascending and Arrival bridging to create a dramatic finale, leaving you sprawling, spent and breathless.

There is a question of the validity of distilling techno for headphone consumption, especially if, as said, context is so critical. However, kick Life Performance off when thundering along the train tracks of a daily commute, or while pounding the pavement under grey skies and through drizzle, and you will find yourself utterly ensnared.