Pendle Coven: Iamnoman EP
Modern Love

With this latest 12-inch from Pendle Coven (Miles Whittaker and Gary Howell), Modern Love upholds its reputation for top-notch, stripped-down dub-techno. The UK label's batting average stays high when releases by Andy Stott, Claro Intelecto, DeepChord Presents Echospace, and Pendle Coven consistently distinguish themselves in one way or another, and Iamnoman is no exception. Given over entirely to the dubstep-house burner “Exigen,” the A-side opens with a crawling bass as huge as a dinosaur stalking the earth until it's met with fierce metallic winds. Deep within the lashing swirls, a bubbly keyboard pulse feels primed to explode until the tension's released when surging hi-hats and rabid snares enter the fray. The flip's “Iamnoman” is the A's brooding counterpart, all lugubrious menace and threat. Low-flying chords sweep across incinerated terrain until a pumping kick drum comes into view. A shape-shifter like “Exigen,” “Iamnoman” morphs from its dark ambient beginning into something akin to charging minimal techno of an old-school vintage and then transforms a final time into a dub-techno workout fueled by reverberating, echo-chamber snare accents. Though “Uncivil Engineering” stokes a funkier stepping groove than the others, Pendle Coven's trademark oceanic bass throb is firmly in place, this time abetted by swizzling hi-hats and foghorn keyboard syncopations. Incidentally, Whittaker and Howell will follow Iamnoman with their full-length debut Self Assessment in early 2009.

December 2008