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Suckfish (Spectral Sound)

Since techno is a genre largely dominated by the clanging of heavy machinery and the chirps and clicks of computers, it rarely makes sense to anoint any producer as the new voice of the scene. Matthew Dear, however, has earned the title over the last few years with the untrained yet oddly endearing voice that has made most of his work so damn catchy.

Unfortunately, his success with vocal techno numbers has rarely carried over to their instrumental counterparts. Shorn of the melodicism that his quirky delivery brings with it, his tracks just can't clear the bar that he's set so high for himself. But that's not the case with Audion, Dear's oversexed and blessedly underconceptualized alias. Though Dear offers no concessions to pop sensibility here, he does turn in the best Detroit techno album of the decade.

Dear revels in raw, exacting sound on Suckfish. He opens the album with "Vegetables," building a steady, minimal groove, then morphing it into the perverse sound of a robot on holiday beat-boxing through a bong. On "Titty Fuck," Dear takes an innocuous six-note keyboard riff and drenches it in waves of caustic acid squalls. As the attack recedes into dubby echoes, leaving nothing but oppressive silence in its wake, "T.B." calls listeners back from the edge. Crystalline bells ring out like an alarm over Dear's eerie synth tones, and the message is clear: The assault isn't over yet.

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