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This release proves again that it's the producers operating at the fringes who often make the most rewarding techno. Lakker are Dublin duo Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell, who for years ploughed a furrow that was inspired by Warp and Rephlex and which resulted in releases that embraced noise, high speed break beats and electronica. So when Lakker decided to focus primarily on techno, they brought with them their previous musical experiences. Unsurprisingly, their debut vinyl for Berlin label Killekill won support from Surgeon and Aphex or that James Ruskin signed their second release to Blueprint. Lakker's past is audible on "Evening Lemon" as detuned, manic piano playing and the sound of kids in a playground bubbles to the surface of a glitchy offbeat backing track - only to give way to a beautiful, dreamy synth. What's more interesting is their application of their left of centre thinking to traditional techno structures. "ED" is powered by crunchy, off beats and shards of glitchy percussion but it's the ghostly, filtered synth that lead it from the outer limits to the realms of the dance floor. Likewise "BKRO" starts with echoing, dubbed out drums and kicks low in the mix, as Lakker let the ghostly textures and melodic undercurrents occupy centre stage. Indeed, if there is a recurrent theme on Arc, it's the use of texture and sound design as a means of seduction and nowhere is the recurrent theme on Arc and nowhere is this more evident than on the title track. There, a dense, lumbering nouveau techno backing provides the backdrop for eerie Aphex-style synths that linger in the background, gradually get closer and then eventually dominate the arrangement as the beats lose their intensity and the electronic melodies prevail, arcing upwards the sublime.
Sebastian Bayne [IF? Records], Billy Nasty, Marcel Heese, Luke Slater, Will Azada (Proper Trax), Charlton, M50, Jamie Behan, James Ruskin, Edit Select, Developer, Mathias Woot (Krill Music), Tom Dicicco
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