Death Is Nothing To Fear (you can call it DINTF like all the cool kids do) is the first installment of a 12” series from Ghostly International sister label Spectral Sound and a corresponding bi-monthly US club residency for involved DJs. You may remember Lost At Sea talking about the new Ghostly venture “Ghostly Digital,” which will be host to between-album digital EP releases from new and established artists. Well, DINTF is the techno label’s physical answer to that one.
Much like the form of Ghostly Digital, the premier edition of DINTF shows off different artists (this time three), each of whom enlists their own brand of electronic dance music. The differences here are much more subtle between subjects than those between Ghostly Digital artists, or even those artists included in the joint-label’s first two compilations, Idol Tryouts 1 and Idol Tryouts 2.
Side A of DINTF1 introduces the series in exceptional form, an infectious and lengthy cut from Audion, better known as Matthew Dear. For those who have yet to hear Audion, the pseudonym’s raunchy yet rich texture is somewhat removed from Dear’s signature clean, microhouse aesthetic. “I Gave You Away” is another solid cut; four-on-the-floor bass drum, spiraling and cutting synth tones, and synthetic hand claps on the snare beat. Most important to the track is the DJ’s ability to blend sounds and, just as crucial, his ability to select attractive noise. “I Gave You Away” gradually builds in the course of 12 minutes through the plying and shedding of sound elements, and by its end has explored a large dance space without wearing itself thin.
Side B represents two upcoming international artists in Portugal’s Bodycode and Sweden’s Par Grindvik. Bodycode, a pseudonym of Portable, has been around the block a few times already and last year’s The Conservation of Electric Charge album for Spectral Sound made some waves in the scene, perhaps even soaking a few people. “Exciting Ride” is signature Bodycode, and by all rights, the 6 and a half-minute track has a much different texture than the other two. The finer elements that made The Conservation of Electric Charge a great excursion are the concrete center points with this track – dull and driving bass drum, spouted female vocal utterances, lurky organ chords, and an electronic tube/snare-roll sound. “Exciting Ride” is not nearly as luring as “I Gave You Away” but is proof to this artist’s mounting potential.
Par Grindvik is the pure newbie of the trio. With the five minute “Casio,” efficiency is crucial. Par Grindvik comes off sounding close to Audion in the techno spectrum – the focuses being short/repetitive, bright synth riffs and layering. “Casio” also features a vocal uttering on the offbeat, drum samples that are almost vacuum sealed, and inserted bass parts played on a keyboard. Although a little different than the other two tracks, “Casio” keeps the quality of Death Is Nothing To Fear high and makes Par Grindvik one to watch.