Leeds-via-London duo Mak & Pasteman made us a rave tape earlier this year, so we're well acquainted with their shapeshifting habits. The duo always bring a raw edge, but flit between house and techno and broken beats with a cavalier attitude. But on their new EP, a three-track functionally titled MTRLS005, M&P are bringing a whole different kind of attitude. They've swandived deep into techno, and the result is some of their most compelling work yet.
"We've both always liked techno and there's definitely been a subtle influence from that in previous tracks we've written," the duo tell THUMP. "This EP was us really exploring writing techno, letting the machines take the lead."
The lead track, "The Whale" is all techno in tone, and the stuttering beat and unsettling vocal samples make this one sound like the most evil dance party you've ever been to. In "Runout," a thousand yard beat sits under whispered tongues and an occasional, jarring synth horn. Around the five-minute, mark, a foreboding synth line nestles in, and that's about all the melodic comfort you're getting on this EP. I'm pretty sure last tune, "Artifacts," has a vacuum cleaner on in the background the whole time, but by this point, you're so far down the rabbit hole that every way is down.
This is the 5th release on Mak & Pasteman's self-run Materials imprint, which has also seen them put out work from Maison Sky and Woz & Troy Gunner. The duo explain the label's positioning: "Materials for us represents music with texture. Each of the releases has had a certain mood. It's an opportunity for us to showcase the music we make in our studio which is different to what we release with other labels, it's also an outlet to release music we like that our friends are making and support them in what they're doing. We'd like to think the whole Materials family feels there's a degree of creative freedom and an opportunity to explore different sounds."