Mikael Stavöstrand

Reduce

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Reduce seems a fitting title for Mikael Stavöstrand's Force Inc debut full-length, considering how limited he keeps his palette. The Swedish producer retains only three stylistic attributes for his album, deep dub basslines, an array of glitches, and a bit of ambience. Though this may seem limiting with its inherent lack of variety, Stavöstrand's music proves so effective because of his astoundingly creative application of this limited palette. The dub basslines never rise above sub-frequency, swelling with enormous power and thumping along at levels where they are more felt than heard. Lurking within the bone-rattling murk of these slowly shifting basslines are Stavöstrand's seemingly endless variations on the glitch sound: crackles, snaps, ticks, pops, clicks, tocks, cuts, pops, etc. Much like the deep bass, these glitch sounds go almost undetected; in fact, they're more peripheral than undetectable, arranged subtly into smooth loops that cycle in and out of the basslines, sometimes filling in the empty spaces, other times accentuating the bass. In addition, Stavöstrand also instills lingering ambience into the exterior of these ten songs, a hovering texture that proves omnipresent when the bass and glitches fade away. If this formula sounds familiar to you, it should be; Stavöstrand isn't exactly uncovering new sounds on this album. Yet it's his dedication to this palette and nothing more that somewhat distances him from his more experimental peers. Where other dub-techno albums from the same clicks + cuts era, such as Vladislav Delay's Anima or any of the first three Pole albums, meander a bit in an attempt to instill a sense of variety, Stavöstrand stubbornly doesn't. And it's this purist approach, along with his creative application of the sounds, of course, that makes this album such a marvel for anyone infatuated with dub-techno.

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