French producer Terence Fixmer rose to prominence nearly ten years ago during the height of electroclash with releases on Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos. This was despite the fact that his searing, electro-techno had little to do with that scene’s one-note fixations. Thankfully, on Comedy of Menace, his latest studio album, Fixmer sounds more in sync with the prevailing mood in electronic music. “Dark Line”, the album opener, is a jacking Chicago-style affair, the doubled up kettle drums and brooding acid riffs climaxing together, while “Things are Over” also makes use of the 303, its squelchy lines underpinning a doomy vocal. Other influences surface on “Impakt”, which sounds like a contemporary techno interpretation of CJ Bolland’s “4th Sign”, as huge, reverberating claps accompany wild industrial stabs to its logical, brutal conclusion.
Echoes of modern-day labels like Sandwell District and Traversable Wormhole can be heard elsewhere too: “Drastic” is a panning, hypnotic trip through the unknown waters Adam X often explores, while the throbbing rhythms and insistent bleeps on “Drastic” and “Alert” sound like a more malevolent take on Function’s “Isolation”. That said, Fixmer does stamp his own identity all over “Menace”; while modern-day bleeps ‘n’ subs are also audible on “My Experimentation” and “Dance like Paranoid”, they are delivered with a primal ferocity that recalls the Fixmer & McCarthy collaborations, with the French producer grabbing the listener’s attention through the use of pounding industrial rhythms. When it comes to menacing the dancefloor, few do it as convincingly as Fixmer.