Senate – Gangstalker
Pacific Command is a new UK label that has reached out down under to tap Australian pair Senate for is debut release. In what is audibly a case of distance proving to be a creative advantage, Gangstalker sounds far removed from monochrome, misery techno. That’s not to suggest that this release radiates happiness; from the inlay art, which juxtaposes disaffected young men in black – apart from an incongruous Nike swirl – with a fire-eater in the background, to the tough, steely rhythms that underpin each track, there is a sense of disquiet throughout.
However, where Senate distinguish themselves from their peers is through their ability to give their rage a clarity and focus. Instead of cloaking it in the kind of studio wizardry that would make Emerson, Lake & Palmer blush, Senate are so full on that the listener can see the whites of their eyes. “Kirsche” is a mid-paced affair, full of deep stabs, but also features percussive bursts that fire with all the power of a rivet gun and a resonating, angular bass. The title track is faster and more intense, but with largely the same approach. Drums kick with all the strength of classic CJ Bolland, the filters ensure an eerie sense of spaciousness that is redolent of The Mover and iron bar riffs pound harder than the final, exhausted stages of an all-day porn shoot. Add to this a lurching, hardcore bass and it’s clear that “Gangstalker” is more menacing than the main bouncer at Berghain.
Most impressive though is the ‘Wardrum Call to Arms’ mix of the title track. Starting off with air raid sirens, Senate then roll out spiky break beats and an eerie sound scape that flickers over the arrangement like flashes of anti-aircraft light against grey clouds. Gangstalker manages the rare feat of being a techno record that sounds unlike anything else around at the moment. We need more releases in this vein.
A2. Gangstalker (Wardrum Call To Arms mix)