Mike Shannon

Slight of Hand

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Like many of his other talented peers in Montreal, Mike Shannon produces techno that doesn't fit into any readymade category. The 11 tracks featured here on his debut album for Force Inc, Slight of Hand, are surely techno but certainly not of the minimal or manic dancefloor variety and definitely not of the experimental or eccentric glitch variety either. Rather, Shannon produces a style of techno that balances a blurry line between all of these varieties and should appeal to the different audiences as a result. His tracks are rhythmic enough for the dancefloor and innovative enough for the glitch scene, yet without necessarily committing to one style or the other. What Shannon essentially does here is make hard, dark dancefloor techno with a quirky, idiosyncratic laptop approach. This is best realized on the opening track, "Crawling Through," the only track here with vocals, albeit computerized ones. The successive ten tracks aren't quite as fun, yet are often more inventive, particularly "Flaco Blaco Funk" and "Scorpio Libidio," two other highlights which Shannon saves for the finale. In between the dazzling opening track and these album-closers, Shannon showcases remarkable diversity without altering his tone or sound. Some of the intermittent tracks, like "Beach Look," amble along oddly, while others, like "Sextoy," evoke unearthly moods of intrigue. Yet nothing is clear here -- Shannon offers a style of techno that is wonderfully opaque. You really don't know what to think about it, but you're fascinated nevertheless, especially by the album-capping tracks and to a lesser extent the more adventurous tracks that lie between.

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