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Massonix

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(Skam; US: 5 Dec 2006; UK: 27 Nov 2006)

UK producer Graham Massey’s resume should speak for itself.  He was a founding member of pioneering acid house outfit 808 State, has remixed artists from Primal Scream to Quincy Jones, and was one of the producers approached by Bjork to create her new electronic sound on her early solo releases.  In between other projects, he’s reserved his solo moniker, Massonix, for a battery of analog synthesizers, rattling drum machines, and a full compliment of squelches and samples, rarely heard outside occasional live performances.  Now, packaged by Skam into a 10-year collection thematically linked to the oceans, Massonix sees its first release since a 1990 12”.  The music, adhering vaguely to pre-IDM experimental techno designs, are open-ended exercises in riffing off of lurching dance and industrial beats with layers of synth loops and sampled chunks of instrumentation, as in the haphazard momentum of early Future Sound of London (unsurprising, perhaps, given Massey’s remix work on their landmark single “Papau New Guinea”).  The best tracks, however, like the muted atmospherics of “Forests of Crespo” or the rhythmic xylophone of “Diamond Dance”, are those that distill Massey’s sound palette down to a simpler, more focused mix, throwing off extended exercises in feeding new noises into a track in favor of greater cohesion.

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