Review: Domenico Crisci – Velvet (Opal Tapes, Mar 29)

A problem I’ve always had with industrial techno is that much of what I’ve heard from the genre just isn’t as aggressive as I’d like it to be. The big names in the genre, like Surgeon and Regis, are enjoyable enough for their stripped-down hypnotism, but to me “industrial” implies something truly abrasive and crushing. With recent releases like offworldcolonies’ Iconoclast, DJ Speedsick’s Nothing Lasts, and now Domenico Crisci’s new 12″ Velvet, however, my thirst for violent, hammering four-on-the-floors has been more than quenched. Velvet frames its repetitive beats with a forcefully minimalist approach, each track subtly expanding the elements that are squeezed and squashed into submission at the outset. Also contributing to the restless tension are the polyrhythms that are slowly introduced, off-kilter beat augmentations that throw off the steady 4/4 pulse and cast the track into disarray. On songs like “You Are Hot,” these rhythmic distortions make the return of the pounding bass throb even more impacting, the catharsis provided by the return to order amplified by the vanquished disruptions. And even outside of the compositional tools Crisci uses to flesh out his cuts, this is simply some of the most ferocious techno I’ve heard in a while—just listen to the first few seconds of “Valzer” or “I Lost Myself” if you don’t believe me.