A regular member of Caribou’s live touring band, San Francisco-based electronic producer Ryan Smith has previously released two 12” EP’s under his Taraval alias on Four Tet’s Text Records label, as well as more recently collaborating with Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. This latest 12” EP ‘No Coast’ offers up his debut release for UK label Hypercolour, and sees him offering up four new tracks that place the emphasis upon energetic, finely detailed techno.
Title track ‘No Coast’ opens this EP with its most relentlessly percussive offering as a repetitive bleeping pulse heightens the sense of tension and distant air raid sirens build against a flexing backbone of steel drum rolls and airy shakers. There’s a sense of all of the recognisably warm and human elements being deliberately stripped out in favour of relentlessly throbbing mechanical precision as rippling bass arpeggios rise up in the mix and the coiled steel snare rolls raise the pressure, calling to mind a cybernetic take on batucada more than anything else.
‘Stan’s Loon’ takes the metallic percussion baton from the aforementioned track and runs with, as bright flashes of synth colour dart against a backdrop of jacking snare rolls and reverbed-out handclaps – while the percussive textures end up stacked up to the very top of the mix, the entire rolls with a smoothness that’s seemingly at odds with its armour-plated rhythms. On the flipside, ‘Kima Jima’ gets more eerie as icy descending synth sequences cycle against dry, thin-sounding hi-hats and snare shuffles, the wavering flashes of elastic melody that shift to the foreground towards the track’s second half nicely balancing out the spiky brittle rhythms that roll beneath them.
It’s ‘Topaz’s Way’ though that closes this EP on its most expansive and futurist note as phased shards of melody slide back and forth between the speakers against a brightly urgent synth line and 4/4 kickdrums pound against fusillades of metallic snares. Well worth investigation.