Sunday, 12 October 2014

Review: Isolated Lines - Stride

Isolated Lines - Stride
Creaked Recordings CRDS44

One of the more distinctive releases of recent months has been this set by the Swiss producer Isolated Lines, who is described as being influenced by “by old industrial and purely analog synth music.” Yet these are absolutely not backward-looking tracks. The temptation to wallow in fake, neo-80s nostalgia is completely avoided and has a very fresh feeling.

I played Stride at my recent Fluid set and it's both a very strong set builder and a great listen. It kicks in hard from the start, but when the militant hardcore bass sneaks in it becomes massive. Still, there's plenty of subtle detail and finesse in the mix and this is much more than a dancefloor tool. Definitely one of the more memorable tracks of the year to date.

In contrast, 'Raze' is more introspective and minimal, yet still focussed and dynamic. Around the halfway mark, the coldly bleepy sounds and drones are temporarily pushed back by brighter tones before the track returns to its original path.

'Uphold' is an unusual blend of darker bass and components that might have been assembled into a funky party track by other producers. It's full of minimalistic tension and marked by a very forward-thinking use of hovering bass stabs and eventually by darker bass elements that recall the more dance-oriented work of his Swiss predecessors Yello.

I was also strongly reminded of Yello on 'Induce'. The effect here is similar to Yello's more panoramic, wide-screen ambient tracks. The slowly pounding beats only intensify a surprisingly emotional conclusion to the release.

While I have to strongly challenge the press release's fanciful claim that this is "techno at its very darkest", these remain distinctive hardcore/minimal tracks that get under the skin and bear repeated listens (itself a victory in a time of endemic over-production).

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