Posthuman: Monsters & Vortices EP
B12 Records

Cousins Rich Bevan and Josh Doherty not only issue electronic tracks under the Posthuman name but also manage Seed Records, so it's a tad surprising to find the four-track Monsters & Vortices EP appearing on the B12 imprint rather than the duo's own. No matter—the material's solid regardless of the label lucky enough to lay claim to it. Though Bevan and Doherty made their entry into the electronic music scene by way of Skam Records, the Manchester imprint renowned for bringing Boards of Canada and Bola to public awareness, Monsters & Vortices EP, a twenty-five-minute set of darkly atmospheric techno dressed up in sleek synthetic textures and tones, sounds nothing like those artists' material (with one exception).

The cousins are also famous for having organized a series of events at an abandoned tube station in Aldwych between 2001-04, where many of their musical heroes and compadres—Plaid, Aphex Twin, and Luke Vibert among them—took the stage. So one maybe shouldn't be too surprised if a smidgen of Warp flavour (Boards of Canada, specifically) ends up seeping into the final cut, “The Karman Vortices,” when a downtempo dub-funk groove joins hands with a looped vocal fragment and quasi-psychedelic electronic colouration. No such traces surface in the other three tracks, however: “Monsters Exist” darkens its high-energy techno kick with a menacing synthetic undercurrent, while “Callisto” starts restrainedly with an understated weave of voice fragments and brooding synth tones before taking serious flight when pounding kick drums and shuffling snares appear three minutes into its seven-minute reign. Even so, the EP's best offering is undoubtedly the ferocious opener, “Krill,” an oh-so-tight club colossus the duo powers with a crisp snare attack and a thrusting groove. In fact, “Krill” is so strong, it alone justifies the EP's release.

September 2009