ERP/Mariel Ito: Split 2
Ai Records

ERP (Gerard Hanson) and Mariel Ito (Eric Estornell) man the controls on Ai's latest split disc. More a forty-minute album than an EP, the two artists get three tracks apiece to showcase their lithe Detroit techno grooves and streamlined machine sounds.

Though liner notes characterize ERP's music as dub-seeped techno, Hanson's cuts are closer to buoyant electro-techno, in spite of the gradual shift from manic intensity to peaceful rumination. First up, the energized “How Did We Become Like This?” burns up the tarmac with bubbly rhythms, swizzling mechano ripples, and spacey, slow-motion electro-synth gleam. The slightly mellower though still jubilant “Members Lonely” reveals ERP's acidy bent while the most reflective of his three, “The Way We Were,” offsets stately silken chords with dubby rhythm rattles.

Having recently issued a sterling collection of chromium-plated, metal-machine music on My Cyborg Depths, Mariel Ito gets his side grooving immediately with the cruising disco sputter of “Approach.” “Future 2020” looks forward by looking back, specifically to the funky beat pulses of Kraftwerk's Computerworld, which Estornell then showers with all manner of whirrs, squelches, and distorted android vocals. “Once Upon A Creature” wends a more melancholy route, a seeming lament for a digital utopia as yet unrealized. Regardless of Estornell's intended meaning, the tune caps a solid sextet of future-directed music-making.

July 2006