EOMAC: Spectre

A solid debut album from from Dublin-based techno producer Ian McDonnell (aka EOMAC) as well as Killekill's premiere artist album release, Spectre ranges widely as it works its way through its fifty-three-minute playlist. McDonnell also operates as one-half of the Irish duo Lakker, which might give listeners familiar with that project a head start on anticipating Spectre's club-ready character. Throughout the album, he reshapes genre styles into startlingly new form, not so dramatically that all connections to the genres in question are severed but dramatically enough that they seem newly invigorated.

With its contorted, grime-infused attack bolstered by a thudding groove and a general sense of mayhem, “SU Riddim” plays like a declaration of principles by McDonnell, even if the track's style is not the one most representative of the EOMAC sound. The following track, the slow, granular, and ice-cold “Rainmaker,” seems more in line with the kind of grinding industrial techno one might expect the producer to dish out, but the subsequent “Forest,” with its sub-bass throb and broken-beat rhythms, suggests that McDonnell isn't about to stay in one place for very long.

As strong as the opening three cuts are, the seven-minute title track trumps them with its mesmerizing sound design and muscular pulse. Smeared in crackle, the warehouse-ready colossus rolls out a chugging techno groove whose aggressive sweep McDonnell augments with muffled melodic patterns that blaze and blare with siren-like fury. It's a stunner that can't help but overshadow some of the album's other tracks—though “Shell of Dark,” a dizzying and disorienting slab of psychedelic techno, isn't one of them. Also trippy is “Crackts,” a wailing and relentlessly pounding industrial-techno banger that plays like the title track's delinquent sibling.

McDonnell changes things up dramatically with “Rising 3,” second only to the title track in impact. But rather than drawing the listener in with a slow-motion techno cut, the boombastic “Rising 3” works its garage-styled magic using a dynamically swinging series of chopped breakbeats and vocal edits. Though the album explores many styles, it's consistently uptempo from start to finish, the sole exception being the closing track, “Squink,” whose techno pulse gradually decompresses until it expires altogether during the album's closing moments. Some of the cuts on Spectre are so grime-soaked and cavernous, they'd sound perfectly at home on Ostgut Ton or Gravite, and fans of the latter label in particular would be well advised to seek out this fine collection from Killekill.

May 2014