For his debut full-length under the name Matrixxman, San Francisco-based producer Charles McCloud Duff takes a stripped-down, dystopian approach to techno and acid house. His prolific run of 12" EPs on labels like Dekmantel and Spectral Sound consisted of club-ready deep house and techno tracks, but here he uses the album format to experiment and stretch out beyond the constraints of the dancefloor. The album is inspired by science fiction as well as real-life technological paranoia, most explicitly demonstrated by Lovecraft-referencing opening track "Necronomicon" (which slowly fades in a beat and acid squiggles over the course of ten minutes, reminiscent of Plastikman's submerged masterpiece Consumed) and "Packard Plant" (which is named after an abandoned Detroit auto factory and features clicking beats and surveillance camera scanning noises over very Detroit-sounding synths). Similarly, "Network Failure" (which has nervously pitch-shifting hi-hats which are likely to confuse any DJ attempting to blend it into a mix) and "False Pattern Recognition" build tension from minimal elements, sequencing fast, upfront beats and jittery synth patterns. While many of the album's cuts get down to brass tacks with straightforward jacking rhythms, there's a handful of misty interludes and ambient pieces, with "Annika's Theme" being the most cohesive and memorable. The album's hits its grubby, dirty peak with "Switchblade," which features sparse, dubby echoes toppling over a pounding mass of steely percussion. The album offers a fresh perspective on minimal techno, keeping things energetic and more than a little bit apprehensive.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson