Futuristic dance music that’s more than the sum of its influences.
Colin Buttimer 2009-10-23
Unbalance is the second album from 2562, aka Dutchman Dave Huismans, and an impressive step up from its predecessor, Aerial. After a string of highly promising 12"s that raised high expectations and arguably gave the near-legendary T++ a run for his money, Aerial was ultimately a little disappointing. Despite bustling UK garage rhythms and deep bass, the overall impression was of a perfunctory workout that erred too close to clinical execution. Unbalance addresses these issues with a sense of greater confidence and a real attention to texture.
Where 2562’s debut sounded too skeletal, the first track on the new album is a brief, but subtle passage of distant industrial sounds. Reverberating beats gradually pull into focus before blending seamlessly into Flashback, a compulsive percussion workout replete with whiplash snares and bruising bass. The sound here and throughout is urgent and detailed. Track three, Lost, weaves a spell with hypnotic vocal loops and lowering atmospheres. There's a whole host of technological dread here that would make a great soundtrack for a Philip K. Dick story.
The quality dips a little with Like a Dream which, with its rather mechanical execution, harks back uncomfortably to Aerial. Dinosaur raises the bar again with intricate synth work and funky tweaks. Yes / No is haunted and mesmeric while Who Are You Fooling? is punctured by brutal, pile-driving beats and menaced by sub-bass; but it's the pauses that provide a real sense of space and contrast.
Unbalance sketches views of a cybernetic near future that touches a number of bases, from dubstep and broken beat to the Detroit-tinged breakbeat sci-fi of Jacob's Optical Stairway. Yet it's more than the sum of its influences and Unbalance ultimately gives Huismans' much-feted fellow Dutchman Martyn a run for his money.