si.cut-db: Find Some Shade
Highpoint Lowlife Records

While Douglas Benford's most recent si-cut.db release Offices at Night (fällt) offers a superb sampling of his supple techno-dub style, its tracks were laid down in 2001. Recorded last year, Find Some Shade thus offers a more current presentation of his style. Both recordings sound equally indebted to Chain Reaction's classic marriage of deep textures and dubby rhythms, but, of the two, Find Some Shade is more bold and aggressive, denser and more extroverted. Even though Benford's production style is so spatial it verges on oceanic, the tracks are anchored by minimal bass lines which act as nuclei around which incessantly swirl gauzy washes. These pieces are in no hurry either, as they all (with the exception of the beatless overture “Papercuts”) unfurl languidly.

The opener's billowing clusters of sharp tingles and showers of morphing shards open the album stunningly, however, but the album's more representative style emerges in “Fortune Meadow” where Benford pairs a serpentine bass line with dense layers of Cobra-like rattles. While metallic wipes and crackling static appear throughout, subtle contrasts are introduced from one track to another. “Reverse Self Help” and “Draft” feature skanky rhythms, for example, while a funkier feel dominates “Glad/e.” A martial pattern (with just the barest hint of schaffel) grounds the incredible “Bluster” whose smears, spindles, and panning chords build to a dense whorling mass. Distinctive instrumental details appear too, like the sharp bandoneon accents that appear in “Glad/e.”

Find Some Shade clearly evidences Benford's mastery of the texturally rich dub-techno style. For those wanting more, the already-cited first volume of Offices at Night will be joined later in 2004 by two related volumes of free downloads at the fällt site, one a set of remixes from Benford himself and the other 'versions' of the originals by artists like Stephan Mathieu, Mapstation, Tu m', Sogar, and Mitchell Akiyama.

September 2004