While he’s now based in Austin, Texas, electronic producer Bill Converse grew up in Michigan, immersed in the early nineties Midwest rave scene driven by the likes of Claude Young and Derrick May. While he’s been experimenting with analogue production techniques since his relocation in 1998, ‘Meditations / Industry’, originally released on cassette in 2013 by the Obsolete Future label and now reissued on vinyl by Dark Entries, offers up what’s only his debut album release. Recorded directly to analogue tape with no overdubs during 2012-13, the seven tracks collected here see Converse offering up a distinctly off-centre take on techno inspired equally by scenes of desolation in nature and places of industry such as power stations and factories. Built around vintage analogue synths and drum machines, the tempos being mined here frequently sit a few shades below real dancefloor energy, making this a collection more geared towards headphones and entrancing background listen than it is the club.
Indeed, opening track ‘Inward Fathoms’ emerges out a hypnotic spiral of slow arpeggios and sonar-like blips, gentle melodic synths and acid burbles serenely unfurling as the entire track meanders along beatlessly. If there’s a mesmerising sense of unhurriedness to the preceding track, ‘Sea Bering’ sees a bouncing yet curiously sparse 4/4 house groove rolling against smeared out, soulful synth melodies and subaquatic squelches before grinding rhythmic textures begin to fill up all the empty spaces in the mix, adding an abrasive yet strangely lulling undercurrent. Elsewhere, ‘Phantom Pain’ opts for repetitive simplicity as volleys of drum machine snares crack against a monotonous 303 and hi-hat groove, the slightly downbeat techno rhythms evoking a motorik-tinged glide, before title track ‘Meditations / Industry’ sends things off into territory reminiscent of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ era Warp Records as filtered electronics get fractured and bent against a crisp backbone of muted kickdrums and handclaps, in what’s easily one of the most acid-flavoured moments on offer here. Beguiling yet lulling, ‘Meditations / Industry’ yields rewards with repeated listens.