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Samuli Kemppi – Cyclic Model EP review

There must be something in the water up in northern Europe: following in the proud tradition started by seminal 90s minimal label Sahko and the weird soundscapes of Biosphere is Finnish techno producer Samuli Kemppi. With releases in the past few years on Prologue, Komisch, Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver and the mighty Ostgut – which commissioned him to appear on Marcel Dettmann’s mix CD – Samuli’s star is in the ascent thanks to his distinctive brand of spooky, spaced out techno. Certainly, this release on the oddly named M-Rec Ltd Cue label will win him more praise, thanks to his ability to tease new shapes out of previous narratives. Both “Bang” and “Crunch” reverberate to the sound of thundering claps and slamming, stripped back rhythms.

The same kind of droning riffs that underscored his Deep Space Helsinki release on Komisch prevail on “Bang”, but they are joined by an extra layer of jarring sounds for maximum impact.  “Crunch” meanwhile features microscopic bleeps and blips fused with insistent chord riffing. Both are testament to Samuli’s skills as a techno producer, but neither prepare the listener for the second half of the release. “Bounce” features more musical pads, but the track’s most distinguishing feature is its panning, insistent hook that sounds like an update of Dave Angel’s 1992 classic, “Bounce Back”. Changing tact completely, Kemppi finishes with “Expand”, a gloriously evocative synth piece that sounds like he’s following the northern lights’ path through the cosmos.

Richard Brophy