Untold “Targa” b/w “Glare”
At his best, Untold makes tracks like power stations, or maglev trains, or a boxer […]
At his best, Untold makes tracks like power stations, or maglev trains, or a boxer hitting a speed bag. Whichever simile best conveys his particular energy, it borders on the supernatural even as it’s rooted in the physical world, like a perpetual-motion machine that actually works. The London-based producer’s transition from dubstep to techno has been an especially graceful one, and for his entry into Modeseletkor’s exceedingly well-curated 50Weapons label, he continues to dodge expectations surrounding genre.
“Targa” and “Glare” have the same tiered construction and understated drama as “Motion the Dance,” although they sound more straight-ahead and loop-based at first. There’s less white space here than is typical for the producer, but there’s still plenty of twisty intrigue taking place underneath the tracks’ stealthy melodic surface and the haze of compression that blankets both sides. “Targa”‘s attenuated beat sounds like it’s cutting a path through slush, its iciness reinforced by crystalline melodies and crispy sonic artifacts. It’s slightly lopsided and squirrely like it’s coasting downhill on a flat tire, and its fishtailing groove is punctuated by the pinging of garbage-can-lid gongs. If the initial feel is cold, once it gets underway, it looks more like a Frankenstein’s monster of tropical dub-techno. Like Ancient Methods, Untold makes noisy music whose chaos is tightly controlled, with a digital glossiness that imposes a satisfying remove—these tracks have been worked over and surgically tailored to a particular end. It makes for a distinct contrast to the ad hoc shape of hardware-driven jams. “Glare” is even heavier than the a-side, drawing the listener along instinctually the way wafting food scents do in cartoons. Sandwiched between a hoovering synth and another loping kick drum, there’s an eco-system of whirring, experimental synth work that calls to mind Rashad Becker’s recent Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I. Only the whole though, both “Targa” and “Glare” only change the Untold formula in subtle—and ultimately insignificant—ways. (“Glare” even uses the same apocalyptic UFO-landing sound that we most associate with the producer.) But what strikes us about this record is the way the simple, expected things feel newly engrossing in the producer’s hands.