Label: Third Ear
Release Date: 25/10/2013
Patrik Skoog is one of those producers with a Discogs page longer than War and Peace. Breaking out in the late 90s, the bulk of Skoog’s work under his own name tapped into the oft-forgotten yet hyper productive early naughties era of techno. Having released numerous high-tempo slammers on Global Trax and Sweden’s Native Diffusion (and later Adam Beyer’s Drumcode), Skoog’s recent work with his well known Agaric moniker has followed the shift towards a slower more minimal sound. Considering this sonic-biography it is somewhat odd that Exit Earth’s understated character sees Skoog returning to his own name after a 5-year hiatus.
In an interview for Ibiza Voice Skoog lamented the homogeneity in the hard and fast structure of his early releases. Exit Earth undoubtedly feels like an antidote to this arguably unfair self-criticism. The sprawling 11-track album suitably explores the theme of space travel, more specifically the expeditions of NASA’s Voyager program. Though the specificity of the theme might be lost on the listener, the airy production and reverb drenched synth repetitions inescapably set the album’s gaze on the cosmos.
Skoog is thorough. Exit Earth does a noble job of realizing the theme, utilizing a restrained sound palette the album is articulated as a unified statement. The press release is unflinching in its assertion that this is not a retrospective album yet Exit Earth is by no means a total rupture from his previous repertoire. The more subtle tracks like the excellent ‘Death of a Pulsar’ do explore new ground but to me the tough groves that run throughout the album recall earlier Detroit sounds rather than the clinical claps and cold booms of Berlin.
There should be no mistake Exit Earth is not retro. At the most tracks like ‘Voyager 1’ are slightly more self-referential then the album’s future-conscious intentions might imply. As opposed to its somewhat vague theme, what really defines Exit Earth is Skoog’s ability to utilize familiar sounds with care and restraint, crafting them into a definitive and dance-floor ready statement.