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Diamond Version – Technology At The Speed Of Life review

All the signs suggest that not only has electronic music’s forward momentum ceased, its creative pulses and processes are now largely informed by an obsession with the past. All of the recent swings in sound hark back to periods in time that predate the noughties, including mnml, faux deep house and Chicago tributes.

Even the supposed innovators of funky/bass are at worst in hoc to UK breaks and at best the darker side of UK garage. So if constantly trying to relive the past is the modus operandi favoured by many, what about the methods behind music-making – or, to put it another way, if the song remains the same, has the delivery changed? It is this space that the most rewarding electronic music inhabits, and unsurprisingly, this is where one can find this new release on Mute. Technology At The Speed Of Life is the first release from Diamond Version, a collaboration between Alva Noto and Byetone from Raster Noton. In many ways, it is a project of this age, a shining example of borderless digital creativity; conceived by its authors during live performances at dates around Europe, it matches up audio narratives with visual messages and observations about society. Scratch beneath the surface however, and the duo are taking inspiration from a style that has not yet been tapped by many of their peers; electro.

Leaving aside the irony of such a project appearing on the former home of UK synth pop,  the Raster Noton pair’s effortless production and signatures, including dashes of glitchy percussion and granite hard beats, are audible. Yet it is also true that “Technology” is fuelled by the same doubled up drums and moody, austere bass that was prevalent in Juan Atkins’s early outings. Granted, the low end is more grainy and the dank acid lends it a more disaffected feeling, but the basic principles are similar. The same can be  said of “Empowering Change”. There, a viscous low end ploughs its way over metallic drums, supporting dissected, sinister bleeps. The production is cleaner, less blurry and more focused – and it is the duo’s relentlessly efficient sound design, as well as their support for a sound that has remained largely ignored, that really makes this rough diamond shine.

Richard Brophy


1. Technology At The Speed Of Life
2. Empowering Change
3. Empowering Change (version)