Originally released on cassette back in 2013 and reissued on vinyl last year by Dark Entries, Texas electronic producer Bill Converse’s debut album ‘Meditations / Industry’ saw him crafting a distinctly off-centre and wonky take on analogue-centred techno that sat for the most part below conventional dancefloor tempos, an approach that to a certain extent stemmed from his initial outsider status to the genre growing up in rural Lansing, Michigan. Twelve months on, this second album ‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ sees Converse following a similar production approach to its predecessor, with each of the tracks here being recorded as single take live jams with no subsequent overdubs.
As with his first album, the primary influences here are Detroit techno and Chicago house, but in this case these genres are given a more blurred and dreamlike feel, the hypnotically lulling grooves amplified by the often expansive running times of the tracks here. Opening track ‘Thank You’ comes across as a tribute to classic Detroit techno as slow piano keys loop against squelching acidic electronics and thin-sounding drum machine rhythms, the elastic analogue synth tones that wind their way through the mix peppered with cut-up vocal samples stuttering the title phrase – indeed, there’s the occasional association with more a pitched-down and woozy take on Carl Craig’s serene arrangements.
‘Dorje Ngodup’ meanwhile kicks the pace up a few notches as burbling analogue synth sequences worm their way beneath volleys of metallic hi-hats and wonkily off-centre kicks and high-pitched tones chirp like crickets, the cycling synth tones gradually resolving themselves into filtered acid squelches as lush ambient pads bleed into the foreground. If the aforementioned track provides one of the best examples here of Converse using the space afforded by a broader canvas to slowly allow his tracks to unfurl their various un-quantised, off-centre layers, ‘Tolerance’ gets more crisp and clinical as reverberating tones echo in the background against glittering synth sequences, the hi-hats suddenly being pitched right down in a woozy swirl as subtle bass tones navigate their way through the planktonic layers, the snares rearing up into a elastic snap towards the track’s end.
It’s closing track ‘Magnetic’ that easily provides the most epic wander here though, spending just under 18 minutes gradually building from a intro section of murmuring analogue synth tones into juddering propulsive bass sequences coloured by sonar-like pulses, before brighter filtered tones begin to snake their way to the forefront against fuzzed-up, almost electro-funk tinged textures. Rather than ripping up the rulebook, ‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ sees Converse refining his approach, with consistently rewarding results.