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Vince Watson – Atom EP review

With so much emphasis on a gritty warehouse aesthetic and a dearth of melodies, right now isn’t the most opportune time to be a deep techno producer. Then again, Vince Watson was never one to follow trends – and this approach has ensured his longevity when many of his 90s peers faltered and then faded into obscurity. Ironically, this release on the resurgent Tresor label marks a return to the approach that Watson had originally made his name with during the mid-90s on tentative releases for Dave Angel’s Rotation. Gone are the references to the more house-based narrative that Watson had embraced for Ibadan, replaced with a refreshingly pure (not purist) techno style.

The title track is a fist-pumpingly epic affair: Watson drops a high-tempo pulsing, acidic bass and then copper-fastens soaring, dramatic synths to it. “Flux” also sounds birthed in an analogue era, with its hypnotic rhythms trailing off into the bleepy ether, making for a wonderfully woozy but captivating feeling. Unlike the other contributions, “Kaleidoscope” sees Watson step out of his comfort zone with a brittle rhythmic arrangement that veers from linear techno into shuffling electro drums and back again. Of course, the motif that defines his work is present here as well, with dreamy, melodic chords enveloping everything.

Richard Brophy