Subminimal :: Sinian (Möller)

Percussion is the focus here, drum and bass sequences constantly rearing their head and you get the feeling it’s all held back to keep a sense of clarity about the record.

Subminimal :: Sinian

For a record that initially focuses on sparseness and the minimal of melodic sounds, it sure is excitable. The aptly named artist Subminimal dominates his sound with the low throb of bass tones—melody is left as an aside only fleeting above the bass, as a passenger.

Sinian is the full-length debut by Icelandic producer Tjorvi Oskarsson—who goes by the moniker Subminimal—and it’s been three years in the making. It’s not an overcooked production, Oskarsson’s clearly kept his heart in this while sculpting something coherent. The immediacy of the record is still here, it’s an engaging piece—forgive this critic for thinking that after three years the record would have been perfected to dilution.

Percussion is the focus here, drum and bass sequences constantly rearing their head and you get the feeling it’s all held back to keep a sense of clarity about the record. Sinian stays focused, is paced wonderfully and is superbly produced. Simplicity is the name of the game here, the tracks very rarely diverge from their assigned rhythm, things often progressing and ending in climax. It’s a very effective formula.

Sinian is a delicately produced record. It’s a finely put together album with pace being a huge part of its experience. Things very gradually warm up. The album starts in a sparseness, the remnants of a throbbing dance beat and some ambiance heard in the background. On second track “Carbon,” a techno-synth emerges—out of nowhere—playing a clubbish melody, a vocal sample timed going ‘uh!’ on and off the beat. Third track “Enum” is a dub tune, possessing a tribal quality, ala Deadbeat—a throwback to the rhythms of Deadbeat’s successful Roots And Wire record. Other highlights include fifth track “The Gang,” using stringed samples via the violin, industrial old-school sounding synths, and a very jungle sounding drum loop to carry it all. Sinian continues to heat up, final tracks “Constraint” and “Pounder” are big, fatter club tunes, heavy on drum’n’bass and jungle sequences.

It’s a simple formula well executed, and there’s enough diversity in the record to keep fans of both minimal and d’n’b genres on their toes. Sinian is an impressive debut coaxing new flavor from familiar ingredients.

Sinian is available on Möller.

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