Untitled 10 (The Black Album)
The material on Untitled & After's tenth release is rooted in techno but spreads its wings far beyond a strict minimal template. The inclusion of field recordings, ambient-dub textures, and a generally expansive approach gives the compilation a wide-screen character that extends its sights beyond the confines of the club. Two focal points emerge in virtually every case: the first a rhythm dimension; the second colourful ambient-electronic scene-painting. Untitled 10 (The Black Album) lists some stellar names as contributors, with Morgan Packard, Andrew Duke, Bizz Circuits, and Leyland Kirby amongst the better-known. Repeated exposure to the album brings into clear focus an interesting trajectory, as the material gradually distances itself from a rhythm-based approach until beats vanish entirely during the recording's second half.
The album opener “Apple Pie” suggests Morgan Packard's been soaking up the music of Robert Henke in recent times, a suspicion bolstered when a number of Monolake-like signifiers surface during its five-minute time in the spotlight: sleek and polished surfaces, atmospheric bass rumble, and a forward-thrusting minimal techno pulse. “Hovercraft,” a collaboration between Andrew Duke and i8u, rolls along with a breezy, lighter-than-air techno bump that conveys the movement of its titular transport, while an accompanying Chaircrusher remix infuses the original with a heavier industrial quality and cloaks it in a multi-layered cloud of hazy melodies and noxious atmosphere. Some tracks opt for a more purely ambient textural approach that excludes beats, as confirmed by lovely meditations by sublamp (“andamurmur”) and Robert Crouch and Yann Novak (“Santa Fe”). And sometimes there is truth in advertising, as “Big Air (Ambient Mix),” a cloudy collaborative piece by Jondi & Spesh with Brian Stillwater illustrates. Leyland Kirby takes the project out on a characteristically distinctive note when the stately “Ready To Go Down Together” evokes a mutant processional where fuzz-toned guitars serenade angelic choirs amidst billowing synthetic flourishes.