Cosmin TRG: Simulat
50 Weapons

Though Cosmin Nicolae's released a dizzying number of singles and EPs tracks under the Cosmin TRG name since 2007, Simulat is the Romanian DJ and producer's debut full-length. He's clearly conceived of it in album terms too, with careful attention paid to track sequencing, which finds interludes (“Samiska” and the aptly named space transmission “Interstellar Inflight Entertainment”) slotted in between clubbier tracks, and the material cohering into a cohesive overall statement rather than feeling like a mere assemblage of unrelated pieces. Consequently it's not unusual to hear something like the ponderous near-ambient meditation “Infinite Helsinki” after the exuberant and infectious uptempo swing of “Ritmat” and before “Want You To Be,” which finds Nicolae flirting with the kind of vaporous soul-house moves one might expect from, say, Hotflush outfit Sepalcure.

The opener “Amor Y Otros” starts things off on a high note with Nicolae strafing the deep rumble of a warehouse groove with buckshot snares and spritzing it with synthetic fairy dust. A sense of threat pervades the ominous “Osu Xen,” an effect intensified by the addition of ambient field noises to the tune's agitated rhythms and unsettled melodic treatments, while a thick mass of hiss coats bleepy IDM-house rhythms and funky claps in “Lillasyster.” “Form Over Function” pushes its drum machines into overdrive for an album-closing throwdown of hyperactive beat patterns and rapid-fire claps. The synth-heavy pulsations of “Fizic” polish its tech-house bounce to a smooth and futuristic sheen, and Nicolae brings the same level of craft and finesse to the album's other eleven tracks.

Just as he's done on the recordings he's issued on labels such as Hessle Audio, Rush Hour, Tempa, and Bpitch Control, Nicolae covers ample stylistic ground on this collection for Modeselektor's 50 Weapons label. Traces of garage, soul, and house emerge in varying degrees on what's, nominally speaking at least, a techno album. He brings an assured hand to the material (all of it newly created for the album), no matter the style, and is to be commended for issuing the collection in a concise, forty-six-minute form. Simulat won't necessarily elbow its way into a great many year-end best-of lists, but it's nevertheless a high-quality release by the prolific Nicolae.

October 2011