[18 August 2011]
I wish I could recommend Tommy Four Seven’s debut full length album, Primate, more than the numerical value below suggests. Released on Chris Liebing’s CLR, which has evolved from a techno label into a kind of epicenter of industrial-tinged house music, Primate is fearless and bold. Its extensive and exhaustive pieces rarely follow the norms of standard dance music. Several pieces here, though beat-based, would stand no chance on the club floor. Often these are the most interesting in their sound design, sharing as much with the early power electronics of Korpses Katatonik, NON and early SPK as the rusty shearing machinery heard creaking throughout the 4/4 lead thud of Adam X or Ancient Methods. The beat of “Talus”, for instance, is plodding and dank like Wolf Eyes’s Dead Hills. Most interesting is the use of chopped Lettrist utterances from Emika, which are the only tonal element on the album, the other sounds being mostly crafted from mutated field recordings. All of this would make for one of the year’s finest, and certainly an exciting new direction for techno, were it not for the interspersing of dull, repetitive numbers like “Ch4”. Still, Primate can be recommended on the strength of its better singles, such as “Armed 3” and “G”.