Margaret Dygas: Margaret Dygas

First things first: Margaret Dygas's self-titled “EP” (at forty-six minutes, mini-album might be more accurate) is a far more satisfying recording than her recent full-length debut How Do You Do?, which appeared on Japan's Power Shovel Audio in 2010. In comparison to it, the six previously unreleased tracks on the Perlon release (available in CD and double twelve-inch formats) are refreshingly focused and lean, free of self-indulgence or filler. The new set finds the Poland-born and now Berlin-based Malgorzata Joanna Dygasiewicz adding to a discography that includes EPs on Contexterrior (2007's Day After), Non Standard Productions (2008's See You Around), and Perlon (2009's Invisible Circles).

The recording's longest cut, “Missing You Less” opens in a generic minimal mode with a stark 4/4 pulse but gradually dons a more personalized character when Dygas sprinkles piano accents and other accents across its rock-solid base. One of the strongest aspects of the piece is that Dygas makes full use of the nine-minute running time in how she allows the total sound mass to gradually fill out and build in intensity; by the time it enters its final third, “Missing You Less” may still be minimal, but it's also fully energized and overflowing with drive. With no compromise to her signature style, “Pressed for Time” pushes into funkier territory with a stuttering drum groove and thudding bass line anchoring the track's tribal atmospherics. Her talent for arranging comes to the fore during “Soon” when she threads scattered microsounds—skittering drum fragments, keyboard tones, and percussive flutterings—into a cohesive whole, with the result very much in the artful techno style one associates with Perlon. During “Country Way of Life,” garbled speaking voices and aggressive drum flourishes offer a constant flow of stimulation, while the swinging cuts “41” and “Ocbinh's Groove,” though also artful in design, are more microhouse than techno. On this collection, Dygas's material locks comfortably into the electronic dancefloor tradition, but it's the tracks' enigmatic and unpredictable qualities that give her music individuating character.

September 2011