[7 December 2010]
Max Cooper’s never-subtle tech house fluctuates at every turn. It lunges forward with less grit than the Extrawelt guys can lay claim to, but the Londoner’s productions are woven with just as much care.
Thumping opener “Ripple” finds a funereal theme (part guitar feedback, part warming engine) blanketed with a set of sonic nuances, everything from barren street clatter to water droplets that sound close enough to taste. Its steady and clicking beat shuts down for seconds to let those affecting chords stew before everything else gets going again. From a more temperate place, Cooper’s “Sea of Sound” is as lush and symphonic as you would probably predict, with textures so airy that the delicate nudge of a kick drum nearly disintegrates them. The producer’s “Ambient Rework” on follow-up Expressions Remixes is a can’t-miss—an outing that’s much easier to swallow than the placid “Chaotisch Serie” edit tacked onto this EP. For some reason, Texas-based Maetrik got the green light to soften this spring’s “Chaotisch…” blueprint and sub-in Suckfish-like growls and disco beats for the rowdy original. It falls short of spoiling the whole, though—Expressions is moving, melodic techno from Max Cooper, abundant with the enigmatic “Traum sound” that heady dance music advocates know well.