Hauntologists: EP 1 & 2

A bit of the mystique surrounding Hauntologists has dissipated now that the identities of the figures behind the project—Jay Patrick Ahern (aka Add Noise) and To Rococo Rot member Stefan Schneider—have been revealed. The duo's first EP under the name was issued on vinyl only via Berlin's Hard Wax store without info or promotion, yet still managed to catch the ears of high-profile DJs such as Marcel Dettmann and Josh Wink. Though there's a slightly dubbed-out and, yes, ghostly quality to the material, the tracks are considerably more jittery, fleet-footed, and uptempo than is the dub-techno norm.

The first EP's subtly blazing opener distills jazzy keyboard noodling, electronic whirr and flutter, and locomotive pitter-patter into eleven percolating minutes of techno-funk swing, before expiring in a rattlesnake hiss. The equally agitated second cut rides an elastic pulse for all its worth, as radioactive blips collide with thrusting drum machine beats for eleven pulsating minutes. The B-side's furiously jacking pair—the second feeling like a second go-round of the first—kick up serious dust in their respective pursuit of the perfect acid-techno groove.

The second EP seamlessly picks up where the first leaves off via an opening salvo that's a bit less frenetic than the debut disc's closing pair though it too pulsates with a locomotive insistence that's hard to deny. The EP's second track throbs with a springy, Monolake-like relentlessness, the haunted third feels like an empty night train barreling through the countryside, and the mechano-driven fourth works a jaunty pulse and a somnambulant theme into a bemused lather for eight heavy-lidded minutes.

If anything, the EPs' eight tracks (almost seventy minutes in total) conjure the image of two intensively-focused lab technicians flitting rapidly amongst equipment—some of it vintage, some new—as they excitedly search for new life-forms until the wee hours (that the Hauntologists apparently laid down the tracks live in the studio is entirely in keeping with the image).

October 2009