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Levon Vincent – Man Or Mistress review

Levon Vincent occupies intriguing sonic territory – he’s closely linked to the raw house of Jus-Ed’s Underground Quality imprint, yet his productions arguably have more in common with the contemporary strains of European techno being made by the likes of Delta Funktionen and Ben Klock. The New York based producer enjoyed a watershed year in 2009 with a slew of fine EPs on his own Novel Sound and Deconstruct labels, although it was the inclusion of the peerless “Late Night Jam” on Steffi’s Panorama Bar 02 mix that earned him the widest recognition.

Vincent has an intricate understanding of sound design and admits, like many producers, to being a perfectionist, obsessing over the smallest details. It’s this potent combination of knowledge and dedication that make each Vincent release something of an event. Speaking in 2009, the producer jokingly remarked he had some tracks up his sleeve that would make people “shit themselves”, and to be honest we wouldn’t be surprised if the title track on this 12″ – his comeback record after a 12 month break from releasing original material – caused a few bowel disruptions. Hi-hats bounce around like giant sheets of metal before the track locks into a sustained groove, which allows the main hook – an indescribably heavy rave synth line – to be twisted around with unyielding, relentless vigour.

B-Side opener “Making Headway” is more abrasive in nature; taking the metallic chords heard on his 2009 remix of DJ Qu’s “Party People Clap” to the next level. The result sounds like an orchestrated recording from the inside of the sweatiest steel factory you can imagine. The odd sense of the human and machine worlds combining is heightened by what sounds like manipulated breathing, which Vincent then douses in a surreal sheen, with strangely calm synth line left to sit alongside the piston-pumping hook. It’s an odd yet appealing middle ground between the sheer hedonism of the A-Side and the comparatively serene “No Regrets” which closes out the release with sparse instrumentation and Caribou-esque plaintive vocal.

Aaron Coultate