Skee Mask aka Bryan Müller is one of the breakout stars of Munich's genre-wandering Ilian Tape label. He brings a sophisticated hybrid of dance music styles from Manchester to South London to Berlin but thankfully doesn't lose track of the party in the process. The LP format sees Bryan experimenting more with ride cymbals and ambient interludes than, say, his stomping "2012" 12-incher from last year. It's really a mood record, but some of the groovier tracks would do nicely in any 4/4 dance ritual.
Choice cuts: 2, 5, 7, 10
Genre: Breakbeat, techno, atmo-jungle
Friends: Exit Records (dBridge, Instra:mental), Good Looking Records (LTJ Bukem, Peshay), Gesloten Cirkel, Delsin Records
1. (5:33) Patient ambient intro. Windswept pads and tape hiss.
2. (6:20) Begins with dialup-esque bleep synths and slomo IDM percussion. Gives way to chilled out hip hop beats and the occasional 32nd-note trap hihat. Music for pondering.
3. (3:44) Insistent simple synth melody guides complex, jazzy beats. Mood holds throughout. One of the catchiest melodies on either 12".
4. (5:07) Kick drum pressure and a marching snare. Melodies are slightly broken and detached. 10am vibes.
5. (6:33) Fast-paced flanging percussion creates a serious groove you won't want to end. Puddle-stomping sound design. Makes me want to grab my drum sticks and try to keep up.
6. (4:51) Closer to 174bpm here. True to name you'll find some oldskool soundbwoy banter in the mix, but it's echoey and distant, as are the drums. Kind of like a funeral for jungle, but not exactly sad.
7. (6:06) Heavy beats are back, along with a driving semi-distorted bass. Badass DJ Premier snare. Fascinating posthuman samples throughout. Could work on the floor.
8. (5:55) Nearly beatless and very pretty. Giving those luxurious pads a moment to breathe. Sounds like it should be concluding something, yet it's in the middle of side C.
9. (5:29) Glassy ride cymbals and synth flourishes. Heady synth wash in the middle feels too short. Reminds me of birds, but maybe it's just the title.
10. (5:33) Odd Bavarian pirate radio intro ("ich steh' auf die neuen Hits!"), but fear not, the jams come later. Self-assured hip hop percussion and curving 303s. Bass shines.
11. (5:23) Totally fogged-over jungle beats and emotionally ambiguous echoing distant shouts. Two notes are all you need. Beats pop more near the end, and an arpeggiating chime thing happens.
12. (4:24) One of the more enchanting and emotional melodies, supported by little more than sparse (acoustic?) jazz percussion. Beauty through restraint.