Mark Fell – Manitutshu (Editions Mego)


Mark Fell

Sheffield, UK-based electronic producer Mark Fell is best known as one half of minimal / experimental techno duo SND, but this latest double 12” single ‘Manitutshu’ sees him reworking tracks from last year’s ‘UL8’ solo album after being invited by Errorsmith to contribute preset sounds for a new software synthesiser he was developing for Native Instruments. Extremely minimalist and skittery is possibly the best description for the ten tracks collected here, with the fusion of scattershot, off-centre rhythms and cold electronic tones reaching out into the sort of austere territory explored by Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project and the Mille Plateaux label. Indeed, several of the tracks here come across as brief sonic sketches more than anything else, coming at just barely or under a minute in running length.

‘Acid In The…Razor Experiment’s sends pulsing electronic buzzes rattling past with what sounds like a chaotic rush of wasplike digital data, while ‘Acid In The…Stochastic Energy Pause With Thin Razor, Attack Noise Hat, Linn’ comes across like one of Autechre’s more gritty and granular moments, phase-shifted digital snaps and pops ricocheting back and forth between the speakers, the resulting on-rush of textures calling to mind some furious game of ping-pong being played by multi-limbed robots, the hits getting faster and faster until they flex out all over the place. As for the more expansive moments here, ‘Manitutshu (A New Algorithim)…LatelyBass And NewElectro, Attack Pulse Hat’s sees things shifting from opening sampled Japanese speech into an elliptical rush of scattershot, elastic-sounding synthetic tones and near-breakcore snare rattles, before Fell’s SND bandmate Mat Steel reworks ‘Occultation Of…’ into fifteen minutes of lulling hypnotic devolved techno rhythms as stuttering melodic drones take things off into the distance. While the contents here are certainly well constructed, they don’t exactly make for immediately accessible listening, making ‘Manitutshu’ a collection perhaps best savoured by those with a taste for minimal techno’s most austere out lands.

Chris Downton


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