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Nicolas Bougaïeff

Upward Spiral

Upward Spiral

UPC: 724596994917

Format: LP (2 disc)

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Nicolas Bougaïeff's first full-length for Mute is a startling set of complex audio constructions that challenge the conventional framework of techno. Instead of structuring standard 4/4 beat patterns and predictable builds and drops, he goes off the grid and assembles rhythms and sequences that seem to run counter to each other, drastically shifting perspectives when one element cuts out and another takes over. For an artist often known for such pristine, high-end sound design, from producing an intricately crafted EP with Max Cooper as well as developing audio performance gear with Richie Hawtin, the album sounds surprisingly rough, caked in grungy distortion and occasionally steeped in a high-pitched steam-kettle hiss that sounds like a hand-manipulated device rather than a plug-in. The record finds common ground with the lo-fi noise-techno of Container and the more purist Berghain sound. The title track is representative of the album's sinister but uplifting feel, expanding a sharp note sequence over a basic kick drum, then flipping the energy into overdrive when a more jagged rhythm swivels in. "Inexadorable" starts out as a slow creep, coming close to a sort of industrial dancehall fusion, then charges forward at the three-minute mark while the notes twist around and nearly disappear into the sky. "Nexus" is perhaps the biggest brain teaser here, switching from insistent kick drum patterns to slower thumps to manic, splattered drum'n'bass. "Flying High" is filled with frantic switch-ups and dramatic breakdowns, taking cues from epic trance but reworking them and fitting them into a techno context. "Inward Megalith" is one of the album's heaviest pounders, and its off-time hi-hats and caustic blasts of distortion make its bulldozing beats all the more disorienting. Exhilarating and unpredictable from start to finish, The Upward Spiral is a fresh, fearless perspective on techno. ~ Paul Simpson

Tracks:

Disc 1:
1 - Embrace Hope All Ye Who Enter Here
2 - Thalassophobia
3 - Upward Spiral
4 - Inexadorable
Disc 2:
1 - Nexus
2 - Flying High
3 - Positive Altitude
4 - Inward Megalith
5 - Listen Carefully to the Heart Beat