Untold – Change In A Dynamic Environment EP 2 review

With Jack Dunning’s first EP in the Change In A Dynamic Environment trilogy, he explored an interesting concept – the sound of Metalheadz drum & bass applied to a techno template. The results were two 4/4 tracks that pushed the surrounding air outwards like a sonic dispersal device rather than deploying bass that sucked the body inwards. The second part continues these strange experiments with two tracks that are never quite sure in which direction they’re meant to be travelling.

When “Caslon” begins it does so like it was made for the Berghain; a solitary kickdrum billows up dust in its wake, while iron clad dub chords ring out with the acoustic quality of an empty shipping container being struck with an iron bar. You’d be forgiven at this point for mistaking the track for one of Marcel Dettmann or Claro Intelecto’s powerhouse productions, but then something happens – the track begins to grow some flesh, as an ebbing square wave straight out of the Detroit handbook twists itself in knots, driving everything forward. But like the first EP in this series, Dunning doesn’t use the inspiration to create a slavish replica of the source material, instead finding new ways to work the palette into his own formula; at regular intervals a white noise snare dissipates, slowing the river rapid pace of the track, almost as if two opposing streams are flowing over each other in different directions. While the common consensus is that techno should always move forward with a clockwork motion, Dunning isn’t afraid to make some of his gears turn in the opposite direction, just to see what happens.

“Breathe” on the other hand is as deep a track as Dunning has ever produced, with a subtly oscillating bassline that seems to be engaged with a tug of war with a rhythm that’s so relaxed it might as well be from a low slung disco groove. However, like Cybotron’s early techno the imagery evoked is pure science-fiction – the glassy Vangelis inspired tones and suspended piano chords practically beg you to imagine the opening shots of Blade Runner – but with a playful quality, a subtle push and pull dynamic that’s difficult to put your finger on.

Scott Wilson


Tracklisting:

A. Caslon
B. Breathe