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The Exaltics – They Arrive review

It feels like it’s been a long time since a convincing love affair between techno and science-fiction took place. Whether imagined or actual, the early days of Detroit techno always seemed linked to lofty ideas about the future of mankind, developing technology and space travel. Underground Resistance especially bought into a sci-fi mythology that surrounded their work, not to mention the imagined aquatic world crafted by Drexciya.

Robert Witschakowski, better known as The Exaltics, clearly buys into this notion as well, judging by the story he weaves of an alien race coming to Earth to communicate their message. Most importantly though, much like UR’s harsh, gritty industrialism, the sound of The Exaltics is moody, bleak, and bursting with atmosphere.

Electro (of the old variety) is something of starting point for describing They Arrive, but really the six tracks span a lot of different tempos. The opening track “See It Through My Eyes” pits a simple dubstep beat against horror film strings, before the title track comes creeping in with a lean but engrossing techno core decorated in all kinds of sinister drones and tones. It’s effective stuff, and begs to be heard on a very loud dancefloor with very little lighting.

“The Wrong Direction” is a brooding take on straight up electro, reminiscent of the early Ai Records output from Claro Intelecto and FZV. “One Circle” however takes an altogether different approach, kicking off on a solid house groove while retaining the swampy layers of menace the rest of the EP exudes. Without warning chimes ring out for a perfectly executed moment of old-skool euphoria with none of the trancey tackiness attached.

It’s not easy keeping a consistent atmosphere across such varied stylistic approaches to electronic music, but as a project The Exaltics is so clear in its goal that the vision transcends typical generic boundaries. Put simply, these tunes will do some serious damage to any floors brave enough to invite them.

Oli Warwick