Stephen Lopkin :: The Strategic Steam Reserve (Titanic City)

The style is retrospective, but no replication. This is a just cracking 12” from a new generation of future gazers. Warm and textured throughout, heady and intoxicating in places with an extra shot being applied when needed.

Stephen Lopkin :: The Strategic Steam Reserve (Titanic City)

Techno has always been a tricky one. I’m not saying that all genres of electronic music don’t have their own difficulties to create, but techno seems to stand out. Why? It’s so easy to feck up. Too bangin’, not bangin’ enough. Too dubby. Too minimal. Too much pastiche and not enough past. Too much heritage, not enough hedonism. A balancing act is what is needed, and few can manage it.

Stephen Lopkin is one musician who is succeeding in finding stability with this standard of electronics. My first encounter with the Glaswegian made quite an impression. The latest sees him skip across the Irish Sea to Glasgow’s sister city of Belfast for a five tracker for Titanic City.

And from the get go it’s a five tracker that achieves an enviable equilibrium. Warm and textured throughout, heady and intoxicating in places with an extra shot being applied when needed. “Semaphore Hill” is one of the more floor centred tracks. Coming from the traditions of Larry Heard rather than Detroit, this is a grooving piece of acid soaked music. The Dica mix stays true the original, knobs jerked with 303 lines twisting and writhing. “Dual Gauge” has been forged in a reflective study of the 90s British style. Deep, expansive and introspective this pair can sit proudly amongst the masters of the Artificial Intelligence series. “CEN 56” is from a similarly inward looking place, a steady thump allowing delicate strings to blossom. “The Permanent Way,” ties together the two main strands explored by Lopkin. A track that cruises, bending and meandering before drum patterns culminate and then dissipate.

I’ve hammered on about balance and techno. Lopkin has it. He makes tracks with such a deftness of touch. He makes it sound easy when it is anything but. The style is retrospective, but no replication. This is a just cracking 12” from a new generation of future gazers.

The Strategic Steam Reserve is available on Titanic City.

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