12" Vinyl UK
phreaky electro Techno
Calum Gunn has spent the past few years becoming a key figure in the European electronic avant-garde. As well as releasing his own music through labels like Entr'acte, FLUF and Tsuku Boshi, the Berlin-based Gunn also helms Conditional Records, one of the most forward-thinking computer-music imprints to emerge in recent times.
Gunn's Addenda EP, his debut drop for Central Processing Unit, contains some of his most dynamic work to date. While his commitment to experimentalism remains, these four tracks represent a clear shift in focus for Gunn - namely that, for perhaps the first time in his career, he is making music that is club-friendly. A whole host of dancefloor innovators are recalled when listening to Addenda - particularly Autechre, Analord-era AFX and several of Mark Pritchard's projects as well as Gunn's contemporaries Rian Treanor and Renick Bell.
These tracks never sit still, their rhythms constantly evolving and turning themselves over. Addenda's first two cuts use metronomic hi-hats to keep these ever-changing grooves in check. With its thwacking kicks and snares, opener 'Esephony' enters the fray with the heft of an early Wiley riddim. Atop these drums we find squeaky half-melodies interlocking and breaking apart, meaning that the overall effect is not dissimilar to the tweaking beats that Pritchard came up with as part of Africa Hitech. 'Esephony' is followed by 'Moebu', another track that harks to grime through its fluttering lead synth. The way that this single-note line snakes above a slow, steady drum pulse pitches 'Moebu' halfway between Last Japan and rRoxymore.
Gunn increases the tempo in Addenda's second half. 'Ternenmarz' introduces itself with more blarts of bass, but whereas these were steady on 'Esephony' they now jump around unexpectedly. Gunn holds the erratic kicks in place with twittering hats and snares - indeed, when you factor in its gnarly synth lines, 'Ternenmarz' steers closer than any other cut here to the high-grade electro drops that CPU has made its name with. Closer 'Pins' supercharges the snap of 'Esephony' to 145 bpm before Gunn softens up the track with reverb-drenched synths that nod to the sombre post-grime of Mr. Mitch's Gobstopper Records.
With the Addenda EP, Calum Gunn has achieved something that proves elusive to so many producers - making club tracks that are at once innovative and immediate, their experimental tendencies serving to elevate their dancefloor impact.
RIYL: Rian Treanor, Africa Hitech, Autechre, Renick Bell, Brainwaltzera [info sheet from distr.]