Longtime techno figure Dave Tarrida definitely proves himself to be a first-class experimental techno producer with Paranoid, his debut full-length. His earlier EPs foreshadowed the confidence he displays on this consistent yet surprisingly well-rounded collection of tracks. Each track finds Tarrida drawing from the same quirky palette of dark, foreboding sounds, giving the album a consistent sense of the uncanny. In particular, the album-opening "Stop the Ride" supplies perhaps the album's most alien motifs, functioning as a blatantly jarring introduction to this challenging release. It's challenging because Tarrida doesn't compromise his music, and he also doesn't aim for any particular utilitarian niche such as the dancefloor or listening crowds. The tracks begin with intros of 30 seconds to a minute in length before the rhythms finally lock into place; the signature riffs (if you can even call them that) then appear, supplying each song with a unique identity. But the music isn't quite this simple -- Tarrida's rhythms are incredibly dense, composed of thin, disjointed layers of heavily nuanced percussion that eventually gel into a continually morphing foundation and, if that isn't complex enough, there isn't even a single 20-second passage on the album when some sort of major change isn't taking place, either a new riff or sound appearing or the rhythmic foundation shifting. So even if this music isn't DJ-friendly or listener-friendly, there's no doubt that Tarrida's doing some amazing things here from a creative standpoint -- this is an album that can withstand countless listens and still always unveil new surprises. Unfortunately, the challenging aspects of the music, which also include its lack of melody in favor of jarring alien noises, don't allow for mass appeal. If you appreciate experimental techno with minor dancefloor tendencies, particularly with a sense of horror, you'll surely find this an engaging album.
by Jason Birchmeier