Upsets Ducks

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Having made his mark both with earlier releases and then his Areal label, Sebastian Riedl aka Basteroid comes up with the goods on his own first full-length for the label, Upsets Ducks. Aiming squarely to create a smart, solid album rather than either a collection of songs or self-conscious experimentation, Basteroid hits the ground running with the sleek "16 Steps Away from the Stars," a moody combination of trance's immediacy and hints of industrial and deep dub, and from there Upsets Ducks barely puts a foot wrong. Skipping through a variety of styles without drawing too far from his core techno approach -- one of the more enjoyable efforts is the sly funk guitar on "Alllright" shading the basic rhythm rather than dominating it -- Basteroid is clearly working within a series of traditions he loves and knows well. His debt to Orbital in particular is fairly noteworthy -- songs like "Jacktales" and "Pulsador de Alarma" blend the same sense of on-point electronics and controlled quirk shaped into pop form that the duo did so well. Moments like the shuddering, skipping breaks towards the middle of "Attention: Upsets Ducks" show enjoyable variations on preset expectations, even while his knowledge of a perfectly straightforward beat and flow stands out just as strongly. Best song title -- "How Not to Play Piano" (which, of course, features no piano -- at least, no audible piano). [An LP version was also released.]

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