After a pair of no-bones EPs for the Zenker brothers’ Ilian Tape label, the shadowy Skee Mask unleashed this 12-track full length and totally disrupted the techno scene in 2016, chock full of bangers with real soundsystem potential but cerebral enough to stand up tall next to any of your classic Autechre and Carl Craig wares. After the soothing palette cleanse “Everest,” Herr Mask dives straight into what will probably go down as his finest contribution to music, the soothing and melancholic “HAL Conv”; all cascading pads, reverse-sucking bass and chirpy microbeats like Richard D. James moonlighting on Chain Reaction circa 1999. There’s so much to chew on, from the cyberpunk electro of “Shred 08” and bubbling techno cauldron “Backcountry.” Then there’s the sliced-up bashment of “Melczop 2” and the 2-step tease of “Zenker Haze Trak,” foreshadowing the breakbeat science he would explore on his next album, but in hindsight, the frenetic and chameleonic Compro only underscores the beautiful directness of Shred. The third act is a total masterclass in afterhours techno euphoria, beginning with the atmospheric and jacking “Reshape” and moving through several shades of redeye brukstep (“Japan Air,” “Shady Jibbin,” “Panorama”) before closing out the sesh with sublime polyrhythmic reverie “South Mathematikz,” something like what 2814 might sound like if they stepped up their riddim chops a few pegs… utterly gorgeous. Shred is a rare pact between dancefloor viability and emotional gravity that soars in both columns. The production is immaculate, intricately textured, and there’s real feeling in the tunes. A modern masterpiece, highly recommended.
- black double vinyl pressing
- digital download included
- music label: Ilian Tape 2018
reviewed by military 2step 09/2018