When Scottish electronic producer Ewan Mackenzie first emerged under his Dextro alias back in 2006 with his debut album ‘Consequence Music’ he was more closely associated with the then-burgeoning UK IDM scene. In the decade since though he’s increasingly widened the scope and ambition of his productions, and three years on from his installation based DVD release ‘An Ghaoth Aduaidh (The North Wind)’, the eight tracks that comprise this fourth album ‘In The Crossing’ build themselves around a lush, sweeping fusion of live instrumentation and electronics. Indeed, it’s frequently difficult to tell where the boundaries between post-rock and downbeat / ambient electronics fall here.
‘Evacuate’ opens this collection with one of its most rhythmically centred moments, sending spiralling synths rolling out against a Krautrock-flavoured backbone of sturdy live drums, the vaguely funky sense of downbeat groove offset by hypnotically spinning layers of reverbed out electronics and distant prowling bass. ‘Break Off’ meanwhile sees shuffling live drum breaks rolling against brooding background ambience and scratchy, almost turntable-like synth effects, before subtly placed guitars begin to creep in at the edges and the entire track bleeds out into an almost orchestral swell, before ‘Clearing’ offers a wander through elegiac rolling piano keys and foglike melancholic background ambience.
Elsewhere, ‘Sum Poly’ offers the perfect encapsulation of the sort of slowburning widescreen atmospheres being conjured here as swelling ambient synths gradually give way to trailing guitar bends and slowly ticking rhythms, in what’s easily one of the more post-rock tinged moments to be found here. More than anything there’s a strong sense of emotional narrative to this album, with ‘In The Crossing’ offering up what’s easily some of Dextro’s most impressive work to date.