Shin: To Live (Through Your Lies)
Persistencebit Records

Rolf & Fonky: To Care E.P.
Persistencebit Records

The Ventriloquist: AMB.
Persistencebit Records

Alessandro Vaccaro's Catania, Italy-based Persistencebit records might be a relative newcomer but there's nothing half-baked or tentative about its sound. 12-inch discs from Shin, Rolf & Fonky, and The Ventriloquist are its latest offerings and all uphold the strong standard set by the label's premiere outing, Andy Vaz's First Aid Course.

Francesco Brunotti's Shin release To Live (Through Your Lies) is the most straightforward of the three: pounding techno that's sleek, dense, and deep. Largely eschewing melody for intricate arrangements filled with crystalline synth swirls, dubby keyboard accents, and percolating chatter, Brunotti keeps his gaze most firmly focused on his songs' throbbing grooves. The inventive title cut slathers distinctive bass plummets and owl-like cooings over funky beat patterns but it's the anthemic “Mist (Tribute)” that burns most ferociously.

Rolf & Fonky (Mirco Uguccioni and Maurizio Ottavi) serve up tracks of a slightly more varying sort on the To Care E.P. accompanied by two Scanner remixes. Uguccioni starts “To Care” in minimal mode with chugging microhouse but then adds rollicking typewriter clanks to its bright synth glimmers; the song reaches an almost psychedelicized broil as it moves towards a salsa-techno close. The equally captivating “Cobra” by Ottavi opens with pinballing beats but transforms into a shimmying groove peppered by staccato synth patterns. Scanner's first “To Care” remix includes some signature voice garbles but is primarily a punchy head-nodder of hip-hop-flavored funk beats, nimble bass lines, and burbling electronics; his faster version of the same song is straight-up, pummeling techno.

Mirco Uguccioni takes a solo turn as The Ventriloquist on AMB., four adventurous tracks that emphasize textured soundscapes over beat excursions. Exuding a faint Basic Channel-Chain Reaction aroma, “AMB.1” offers a deep, lumbering tech-house groove whose repetitiveness is undercut by a tiny hiccup that slices through its 4/4 rhythms. Other tracks feature dubby waves of clacks and clicks, crinkly textures, and industrial machine noises, but it's the second piece that impresses most. On this lurching stunner, Uguccioni creates an unusual concoction of prickly bursts and bird-like flutter that's reminiscent of Twine in its rich detail.

While Shin's release occupies the purer techno end of the spectrum, the other two move further afield with AMB. the least dance-oriented of the three. The discs' stylistic range is appealing and, if anything, makes Persistencebit come across as an Italian Ghostly of sorts; such diversity bodes well for the label's future.

February 2005