Terror Danjah

Power Grid

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The lines separating grime, dubstep, two-step, and techno generally are getting blurrier, which is fine, except that it can make it hard to know what to expect when cueing up the latest from an artist like Terror Danjah. One thing you know you can expect: that signature squeaky-robot-dog laughter that bubbles up repeatedly in most every track and leaves no question as to whom you're listening to. And on this, his second nearly full-length album (technically it's considered a "double EP" and contains eight tracks at roughly 30 minutes' total length), Terror Danjah is making considerable progress toward developing a sound that is uniquely his own as well. It's squelchy, sometimes deceptively simple-sounding, and alternates between densely arranged tracks and artfully minimal ones. "Space Traveller" consists mostly of drum machine rhythms and kindergarten-level keyboards, and it segues into "Menace," which is built on a juddering non-groove that is neither obviously danceable nor terribly listenable. Not an auspicious start to the program. But things pick up considerably with "Pulse" and "Twisted," both of which are off-kilter but much more conventionally funky, and the even better "Power Grid," which bustles nicely with fun samples and surprising textures. "Horror Story" is perhaps the most emotionally complex track on the album, a sonic psychodrama that moves as heavily and unstoppably as a sociopathic elephant and burbles with taunting piano licks. Generally speaking, it sounds like Terror Danjah is continuing to move in the right directions, but he has also left himself plenty of room to go completely off the rails. Here's hoping he can hold it together.

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