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Objekt – Cactus review

There’s a moment in Objekt’s track “Unglued”, self-released by the artist last year, where everything stops and a punishing bass rips through the mix. Musically it serves no purpose; its deployment is purely intended to create a physical response, and heard in the confines of Plastic People last year, it felt like a cruise missile had just flown through my ribcage.

It’s difficult not to use the language of warfare when describing Objekt’s tracks, given that they’re so akin to sonic weapons; when he’s not creating the kind of basslines that could make you vomit, he’s creating techno with all the militancy of Underground Resistance. His first two EPs displayed a production mastery which rightfully catapulted him into the premier league of dubstep/techno crossover producers, but there was a tendency for him to meander slightly (the 7-minute “Unglued” is a case in point). There are no such criticisms to be levelled here however: this 12” feels leaner and more focused, giving each side over to a distinct version of the two styles he takes the most from – dubstep and techno. “Cactus” is ostensibly the dubstep side; its wobbling bassline recalls Mala’s savage productions, tweaking the oscillators just enough to make the bass scream whilst keeping things tasteful, despite its unhinged metamorphosis into a raygun at the halfway point. Rhythmically, the percussion recalls 2562’s crushing broken-beat with a swing that’s undeniably UK influenced, given all the more punch with its reversed snares and reverb soaked percussion.

If “Cactus” is the record’s tactical nuclear missile, going for a blanket approach, then “Porcupine” is its focused aerial bombardment, with compressed kicks raining down their fury from above like laser guided missiles. Structurally it’s an inversion of “Cactus”; instead of all hell breaking loose at the mid point, it lets itself catch a breath, its maelstrom of pummelling beats easing off, giving way to a cloud of swimming chords with a diamond-like clarity with all the purity and focus of Jeff Mills’ best productions. DJ battle weapons these tracks may be, but when they’re this good, it’s hard to dismiss them.

Scott Wilson


1. Cactus
2. Porcupine