Each successive volume of Death Is Nothing To Fear seems to spiral ever-deeper into darkly atmospheric, Detroit-flavored minimal techno, and Vol. 3 stays to true to form. The series is something of a showcase for smaller names on Spectral, this time around including old hands (Sami Koivikko, 2AM/FM) as well as newcomers (Kate Simko, Seth Troxler). Unfortunately, the results are a bit of a mixed bag.
Koivikko’s “Keskus” is a disappointing start. The Finn’s previous release on the label, Pajaasaa (2006), was a heady blend of driving beat sequences and buzzing sawtooth synths, but “Keskus” recasts his sound within a decidedly more minimal framework. Regrettably, it lacks the punchy urgency that made his previous EP so compelling. Similarly, Kate Simko’s “Clean Living” strips away her usual melodic complexity in favor of a clinical austerity that comes off sounding like one of Richie Hawtin’s bricolages circa Transitions. It’s not bad per se, but it’s far from her best work.
Thankfully, Seth Troxler steps it up with a dose of stripped back minimal that explains exactly why this young producer is so in demand at the moment. Heavy on the atmospherics and awash in wriggling effects processing, “Relationship” is sure to find favor with DJs searching for that next “weird” track to insert into their sets. Finally, 2AM/FM take the EP out on a high note with the aptly titled “Motherfuckers Don’t Know”. A beefy dose of banging percussive edits and dense chords that would make C2 green with envy, the track reminds you of everything great about Spectral. When they come to party, they bring it hard, and this track stands right up there with Audion and James T. Cotton’s finest moments. This one alone is worth the price of admission.