Along with the Chain Reaction label, during their original lifespan of 1996-1999 German electronic duo Porter Ricks were pretty much responsible for crafting dub techno’s template, amassing a rabid listenership worldwide before Thomas Koner and Andy Mellwig went their separate ways following 1999’s stunning collaborative album with Techno Animal ‘Symbiotics’. Following the duo’s reunion live performance at Berlin Atonal earlier this year this latest 12” EP on Tresor ‘Shadow Boat’ offers up Porter Ricks’ first new material in 17 years, with three new tracks that more or less pick up directly from where they last left off.
As you’d expect from the title, the aquatic theme that’s permeated through all of the duo’s previous work remains firmly present, and it’s amazing just how ahead of the curve the duo still sound, a testament more than anything else perhaps to the forward-thinking nature of their productions. The gauzy, distorted textures that drift through title track ‘Shadow Boat’ even manage to recall the wash of foaming water in the wake of a boat as muted kickdrums and clicking snares wander beneath, the moody bass chords prowling beneath gradually merging with waspy, brittle synths as the entire track thunders along through the darkness in what’s easily the most darkly dramatic outing here.
In contrast, ‘Bay Rouge’ dials the fear down several notches, instead weaving ghostly electro funk from grinding bass textures, skeletal flickering hi-hats and muted kicks as an eerie vaporous ambience hangs in the air, the repetitive headnod groove taking on a hypnotically rolling feel, before ‘Harbour Chart’ opts for cinematic atmosphere, sending a treated orchestral loop bleeding out amidst slow, dubbed out crunching beats and faded-sounding textures that sound like they’ve been taken off tape, the flexing rhythms rising in intensity against the opaque rise and fall of the background elements. In this case, it sounds like the future still hasn’t quite caught up with Porter Ricks, who still sound as ahead of the curve as they’ve always been.