Petar Dundov & Gregor Tresher "Hex" b/w "Solstice"
Thanks to his majestic full-length from back in March, Ideas from the Pond, Croatian producer Petar Dundov is bound to be the more familiar name on the collaborative "Hex" b/w "Solstice." On that album, spiralling, trancey melodic lines do the heavy lifting, giving Dundov’s tracks a contemplative feel while consolidating their cumulative momentum. A natural affinity with the similarly melodic German techno producer Gregor Tresher can be found in Dundov’s more club-oriented "Stairway" b/w "The Arch," also from 2012, a single that also comes across quite nicely in the home environment. These producers share a distinctly European sensibility, availing themselves of melody in an unselfconscious way, and stretching those patterns out over long, involved durations. It makes for a unique listening experience, with hints of trance (before it became a dirty word) embedded in its more functional aspects.
Like the aforementioned releases, the second collaboration from Dundov and Tresher —following their Duo Tone EP from late last year—appears on Ghent, Belgium’s Music Man label, and finds the veteran producers focusing on rhythm as much as melody. Despite the occult overtones of the titles, the spookiest signifier is not a Demdike Stare/Coil borrowing but the steely dub-techno conk that appears in the second part of the a-side. Apart from that, and some relatively gnarly FM synthesis, it’s fairly smooth, gluey dance material. As 11- and 8-year production veterans, respectively, both Dundov and Tresher own their voices with confidence. While “Hex” and “Solstice” fall short of captivating, they are successful compromises between sounds that aim for the sky and sounds that aim for the dancefloor, and it’s fun to hear these guys find some wiggle room within their established approaches.
Tresher’s voice tends to be more terrestrial than Dundov’s. An album like his The Life Wire conveys a more linear, one-track-at-a-time experience relative to Ideas from the Pond’s ambitious, album-length arc. Both producers’ palettes consist of crisp analog textures, and “Hex” kicks things off with an uncharacteristically guttural, saturated bass-and-kick drum pattern. Over its eight-minute runtime, “Hex” builds up a nice head of steam, slurring a tightly framed melody into the rhythm and blowing it up with clean, harmonic distortion. The effect is like watching a rocket launch and then disintegrate in orbit before coming back to earth as weightless scraps. “Solstice” is funkier, less driving, and cleaner sounding, growing a more complex arpeggio out of a couple of swung synth chords and cycling, stepped layers of drum programming.
There is plenty to observe and appreciate in the construction of and carefully considered interactions within this EP. Yet, it falls short of vital, lacking the kind of energy or scope that could connect these sequential circuits to the world outside. Dundov and Tresher are well suited for collaboration, and the results get more interesting the further they get from the arithmetic mean of their sounds.
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