If you wanted a glimpse into current state of European dub techno, you could do a lot worse than the Armour EP, the first proper release from Glasgow-based producer Wireman (real name Andrew Langfield). Wireman has already received praise from prodigious disco revivalist Trus’me and dubstep mover-and-shaker Mary Ann Hobbs—who recently featured the release on her Radio 1 program—and has Move D and Sascha Dive on his remix calendar. Though he works within a fairly strict set of boundaries, the diversity of his admirers reflects the notion that the Armour EP is a solid little record no matter how it’s sliced, with a grasp of the qualities that have made this class of electronic music more than just a niche market.
The featured attraction is the 7-and-½-minute title track, which crosses a Claro Intelecto style of measured tech-house with the granular purple murk of Quantec and A Made Up Sound. A prominent industrial rhythm keeps time through several movements of clanging, echoing metal, creating an environment both hard-edged and sensuously spacious. The three shorter works that follow are nearly as good; “Forge” recalls the dark, desolate ambient of Burial’s “Endorphin” from Untrue, “Axiom” deals in the sort of brackish dubstep that DJ Distance has trademarked for himself, and “Perspex” brings back the sound of a melodic Autechre at their most stubbornly unsexy. It’s all derivative, of course, and it could take Langfield a few more tries before he finds his own voice among his influences. But the atmosphere is appealing and the production is quality, and if nothing else, the Armour EP should give us something satisfying to chew on when we’ve run our 3024-minted techno singles into the ground.
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