Label: Prosthetic Pressings
Release Date: 27/02/13
I’m not sure quite how to start writing about this release without resorting to unnecessary superlatives, or coming across as an overexcited, wide eyed, little boy at his first rave – but fuck me, this is good! Work Softer first surfaced back in 2008 as the scintillating b-side to Perc’s otherwise unremarkable Work Harder EP. The track is perhaps best known for Matador’s remix which injected a sense of space into the original’s claustrophobic and densely knitted sonic landscape.
Five years on, this strain of Industrial Techno is the trend du jour, seemingly in an act of clairvoyance, Ali Wells’ Perc Trax (amongst others) were early exponents of the second wave of industrial flavoured techno, with the likes of Avian, Ancient Methods and the Perc Trax roster atop its crest. In a scene now saturated with an overwhelming glut of mediocre producers clamouring to stake their claim-with hypertensile but otherwise forgettable records, it’s understandably a measure of talent and modicum of hope, when a record stands out from the heaps of amorphous 12”. Work Softer Revisited is such a thing, consisting of three remixes – two by German/Canadian duo Desonanz, the other by Hands Productions affiliates, Orphx.
Keeping in line with their modus operandi, experimental techno autuers Orphx kick proceedings off with their decidedly nasty rework. Channelling the relentless pulse of Techno through the darkly cerebral ambience of Industrial, the results is as visceral as it is imaginative. The mechanised elements in the track initially cloak the dancefloor elements, assailing the listener with pockets of digitised noise, tape hiss and what disconcertingly sounds like a power tool, until the fractured beats break into full gallop, tumultuous percussion overpowering crackling high end and ruined machinery.
On the flipside, Desonanz submit Work Softer to their bellicose programming, constructing their interpretation around the looped discharges of static. The brutal sequencing of the track lends itself to the jackhammer thump of the beat- the pummelling midsection struggling for room against the unremitting electrical convulsions that threatens to derail the track’s momentum completely.
Like the best music in the genre, Work Softer Revisited eschews tonality in favour of a complete sonic assault. It substitutes groove for relentlessness, harmony for discordance, and above all is violently dystopian, evocative of a scarily imaginable dehumanised future. Despite the monotonous nature of the music, repeat listens offer nuances imbedded in the tracks missed first time round, which again only serves to highlight the gulf in quality between Work Softer Revisited and the faceless records currently flooding the market.
Work Softer is out now on Prosthetic Recordings.