Music to Watch

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Collecting pieces composed by the duo for a variety of projects -- installations, dance performances, and so forth -- the short but worthy Music to Watch is a lovely introduction to Surya's work, specializing in minimalist techno that balances off hints of glitch with an older, gentler approach. Many parts suggest Hardfloor's explorations into clean breakbeats, as heard on the DaDamnPhreakNoisePhunk? and similar releases, but with a more explicitly ambient, gentler bent that emphasizes the calm melodies rather than the rhythm. "Serenade Upgrade" is a good example, its various drum patterns and on-the-edge-of-hearing twitches impossible to miss but still somehow subordinate to the lead synth tones, soothing and reflective. It's not that the two don't forget the funk entirely, though, as the basslines on "Oil Cut" and guitar on "282" demonstrate -- it's just that Surya have an attractively restrained way around working with them. Concluding cut "Gap" is where Surya lets it all go the most, with a stronger emphasis on beats and bass moans all around, but even so it's hardly nosebleed, bangin' sounds -- more a rave experienced through gauze.