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Tommy Four Seven – Primate review

Berlin-based producer Tommy Four Seven has come a long, long way in the space of a few years. This writer first encountered his music on Brique Rouge when he was making acid-tinged house, but there is little trace of this approach on his debut album. Indeed, Primate sounds like Tommy has been weaned on a strict diet of Downwards, Einsturzende Neubauten and Autechre, with the result that while the overall mood is dark and unforgiving, the album is captivating. Like the ghoulish tendency of looking through closed hands during the climax of a horror film, Primate is an irresistibly gristly listen, one that draws the listener back repeatedly.

Tommy captures the Regis/Surgeon broken beat techno sound effortlessly on “Sevals” and “Talus”, with hammering off-beats underpinning walls of droning noise. A more direct approach to the dancefloor is audible both on “Track 5”, where a wall of hissing noise is set to a pounding rhythm track and, more indirectly on “Ratu”, where thick layers of sonic grunge gradually cede control to stomping beats. That’s not to suggest that Tommy is intent on bludgeoning the listener into submission – “G” is a death-paced, atmospheric track and “Verge” is served up in layers of ghostly ambience – but even less intense tracks like the murky broken beats of “Armed 3”, which sounds like an old DJ Funk record played at 33rpm, embody a mood so brutally primal that it’s impossible not to play them again and again and again.

Richard Brophy