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Conforce – Escapism review

At a time when classic-sounding techno is at a premium, Boris Bunnik aka Conforce is one of its main proponents, right? Wrong. It would be too easy and simplistic to dismiss the Dutch producer as merely revisiting the sounds that were current during the mid-90s, and Escapism, like his other releases for Clone, Rush Hour and Delsin, does much to dispel any pre-conceived notions about him. One of the common themes and sources of inspiration on the album is Bunnik’s love of swirling, ambient textures.

Spacey melodies unfold all the way through “Aquinas Control” as a dubby, rippling bass takes hold, while on the title track, glassy percussion and shuffling 808s provide the electro backing to Bunnik’s atmospheric chords. There are times too when it sounds like Conforce has completely immersed himself in electronic music’s reflective, esoteric side and the evoactive, shimmering synths of “Timelapse” could have been part of a long lost sci-fi soundtrack.

On other occasions, Escapism sounds earthy, grainy and twitchy, especially on the detuned textures of “Diversion” or “Revolt DX”, which sees Bunnik drop a gained, jarring rhythm track, and “Lonely Run”, centred on distorted sub-bass and metal-plated drums. However, the real highlights occur when Bunnik occupies a place where all of these sounds meet, like the ghostly pads and forceful bass of “Elude” or the hushed tones and uplifting synths of “Ominous”. It’s also where you’ll find this year’s most eloquent articulation of techno escapism.

Richard Brophy