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If Technique’s Spanish connection have flown under your radar so far, here’s your chance to catch up. Now, as the rest of us know, they might be drawing from neuro and tech influences, but producers Alerstorm and Ice Stereo, aka Gradual, have been quietly and methodically evolving their own formula. Not only does this three track EP represent some of Gradual’s most individual and technically advanced work to date but, crucially, it’s free!
First up is Ignis. Right from the intro, Gradual show that they’re creating a template all of their own. They’ve got that tech-sensibility in there, as percussive elements develop and morph. But the strings and chord changes add a touch of euphoria to proceedings. Then the drop, made from a grimy sub, a popping two-step rhythm and sparsely paranoid synth modulations, is tinted with colours straight from the neuro palette. All that, plus the skankers paradise half-time section in the second drop show that these producers are refusing to stay pigeon-holed.
Penguins harks back to the funky techstep we were used to around the turn of the millennium. As the groove emerges from a cloud of reverb, it becomes clear that catchy hooks aren’t just the preserve of jump-up. That militant synth line in the top-end is going to get right inside our minds and stay there. When that’s combined with the precision-tooled drums and speaker-rupturing jabs of bass, this is set to do serious dancefloor damage.
Finally, Space Law comes into effect. This one’s, quite simply, dangerous. The moment you hit play, it’s already building, with synth-pizzicato and rolling toms warning us of the tactical nuke that’s coming. When the kick-build adds it’s weight, the ravers better get set to go in hard. The drop strikes with tectonic sweeps of bass that rip through the low-end and mid-range, supported by those glisteningly-clean drums we’ve come to expect from Gradual. It’s dancefloor technique in action.
So, don’t be fooled by the price tag. It might not cost any money, but there’s nothing cheap about this release. These tunes are mature, assured pieces of D&B production that are bound to cement this duo’s reputation. Better get ready to see a lot more of Gradual in 2017.