Dez Williams: Spinechiller EP
Concrete Plastic

Heady machine funk birthed at a laboratory in Holy Island, an island off of the coast of North Wales, Dez Williams' Spinechiller offers a thoroughly personalized and foreward-thinking take on the classic techno and house styles associated with Chicago and Detroit producers. Contentedly ensconced in the underground, Williams turned heads with his debut album Elektronik Religion for the SCSI label, and there's little reason to think he won't do much the same with this latest offering of six electro-techno jams.

The EP begins in a starburst of radiant illumination with “Zambu” but the track proves to be no ambient reverie: beats gradually emerge from the background and displace the listener's attention away from the synthetic radiance to a wiry churn of rollicking techno rhythms and claps. Bass throbs pave the way for the spooky splendour of “Blyz” until congas and house chords briefly hijack the track before a lightly jacking funk-house groove and a percolating acid line sends it off on its jubilant way. Sounding at times like Dez Williams hooking up with Demdike Stare, “Waited” underlays smudged voice samples with a snappy, bone-rattling groove that's as grimey as it is funky. Splatter-funk beats and clockwork electronics animate “Modern Day Slavery,” which gradually builds into something more monstrous until a breakdown collapses the intensity before winding it back up again even more relentlessly. Not surprisingly, “Hammer House of Horrors” wends a more atmospheric path through a haunted forest of cryptic noises and ghoulish tone-shifting, but though the vibe is woozy, even sickly, the track isn't lacking in the kind of base 4/4 propulsion heard elsewhere. With each grounded in machine-funk rhythms and spiked with subtle acid flavourings, Williams' tracks sound of a piece while also managing to individuate themselves from one another.

March 2011