Untold – Change In A Dynamic Environment EP 1 review

In a recent interview with FACT, Untold, otherwise known as Jack Dunning, suggested he was “just another dubstep producer washing up on techno’s beach in 2012”. In many ways this is unfair to his unique production style, which arguably has always had more in common with techno than many of his contemporaries – developing on a course outside of either genre over the past four years, culminating in the release of Little Things Like That on Clone’s Basement Series last November. It was an EP that combined the rudeness of a jungle track heard through a grainy FM pirate radio broadcast with the piston-pumping dub atmospherics of the new school of contemporary Dutch techno producers, and remains as compelling an example as any (along with Blawan’s Peaches EP) of the rich potential for bass influenced techno.

On listening to Change In A Dynamic Environment EP 1, it’s clear that Little Things Like That was something of a transitional record, though perhaps not quite in the way that many expected. While both its tracks hammered forward with all the power of a horse bolting from the Fachwerk stable, the vacuum-like bass throb which is Dunning’s most distinct sonic trademark was always pulling in the opposite direction, largely justifying the tag of bass over techno, and it’s in this manner that many expected him to continue, applying his tried and trusted sounds to more regular drum patterns. From the opening bars of “Motion The Dance” however, which pulse with the gentle rigidity and atmospheric nuance of a Silent Servant production, and opens itself out rather than folding itself inwards, it’s clear that on this record Dunning is concerned with exploring headspace rather than the bodyshaking electro-dubstep of the “Stereo Freeze” era.

In the same FACT interview, Dunning mentioned that he’d been listening to a lot of drum & bass from 96-98, and it shows. In both tracks the influence seems to take the form of extended melodic sections that gently drift from a distinctly 90s melodic ambience into droning, saturated basslines that sound like Dunning has pumped the Metalheadz vibe full of growth hormone. The rhythm on “Luminous”, meanwhile, although at comfortable techno tempo, never really allows you to get a foothold, hovering somewhere in mid air like an eternal amen break. This approach on both tracks flips Dunning’s usual formula on its head, largely removing the heavily bottom-ended element of his sound, resulting in something that isn’t rude club tackle but altogether more contemplative. Whether this is end of the Untold we knew him will no doubt be revealed with EPs 2 and 3.

Scott Wilson


Tracklisting:

1. Motion The Dance
2. Luminous