ITAL TEK: Midnight Colour (Planet Mu)
Reviewed by themilkman Source: (The Milk Factory)
Dubstep and garage may have originated from London, but both genres have long since expended outside the boundaries of the British capital to be re-interpreted by music producers across the land and beyond. One such artist is Brighton-based Alan Myson, who, under the Ital Tek banner, has been refining a particular form of dubstep through various EPs and a debut album, Cyclical, released primarily on Planet Mu.
Two years on from Cyclical, Midnight Colour continues Ital Tek’s sonic exploration, yet it denotes quite a substantial change of tone. By assembling much smoother soundscapes together and placing them over gentler beats, Myson steps into a much more nuanced and refined universe. The structure which provided the basic frame for most of Myson’s outputs until now is still present here, from the heavy bass and angular beats to the melodic brushes, but it is very on these that Myson focuses here, bringing fragments that were scattered all over his previous records to the surface and exploiting their evocative potential much further by developing them into more consistent units. While this change of tone may not quite be evident from the first couple of tracks, Moonbow begins to reveal the much subtler and more nuanced side as Myson pushes the melodic aspect of his music to the forefront and smoothes the harsh edges of his urban grooves slightly to create a beautifully haunting piece.
From this point on, Myson distils a wide array of exquisite hues which brings his pieces to life in much more sophisticated and elegant fashion. There is an underwater quality to some of the tracks collected here, from the peaceful Satellite or soulful Black And White to the sparkling groove of Moment In Blue, while tracks such as Moonbow, Subgiant, Infinite or the dreamy Restless Tundra, which features the vocal talents of songstress Anneka, who also recently collaborated with Starkey, appear much earthier and textured, linking back to the origins of the genre whilst looking out to more open and atmospheric forms.
Even when he toughens his beats and sounds up, and he does so quite regularly here, Myson retains much of the moody ambience that characterises this record. Album opener Neon Arc for instance is a pretty incisive piece which doesn’t quite initially make the more subdued tone of this record apparent, and later on Babel or Heliopause wear their urban heritage on their sleeves, although the latter at times echoes the haunting melody of Burial’s Distant Lights.
Planet Mu has over the years evolved into a hot cauldron of urban electronic music suited perfectly to Ital Tek’s original take on dubstep. What Alan Myson does here, while still very much infused with dubstep flavours, hints at wider musical forms and may well be the signal that he is about to embark on an much more ambitious journey. As a stand-alone project, Midnight Colour is a beautifully executed slice of modern electronic music.
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