Scan X

How to Make the Unpredictable Necessary

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With seven years separating this second album from the preceding Chroma, Stephane Dri decided not to bother breaking the listener in gently, with the fragile ecosystem and deep-space orchestration of the appropriately monikered opener, "Outpost," soon giving way to his distinctive line in Detroit-themed jack tracks. Indeed, it is barely a minute into the running order before "Higher" has carved out its caustic window in the space between the speakers, using an agitated square wave to burn through a two-chord key sequence -- a hi-hat hewn from razor wire does all it can to restore order, though ultimately proves impotent in its efforts to reign in a truly fearsome groove. Herein lies the same secret that has powered so many other residents of the Motor City; whether Drexciya, Jeff Mills, or Scan X, all understand that the key comes in countering the dancefloor slam provided by an acid analog bubblebath and jack-booted percussion with a swirling of schizophrenic orchestration and developing melody. "Classic" offers the remonstration of this low-end theory, authoritative beat programming governed not so much by the effervescent bass work as the undulating orchestras that drift around the arrangement like a fog. Exceptional.

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