TMPLT – Kubta EP

Dark Days

As days get longer and the sun is increasing its time spent with our little blue planet, this 12″ comes as some sort of seasonal anachronism. At least if you only discovered it now when it was getting its second push on – I think my copy entered my collection already during the dark days of December.

Much more fittingly so as Michael Knop a.k.a. TMPLT is serving some pretty dark industrial material here. You just need to let the cover art sink in and you kind of know what to expect. The artist himself talks about dark alleys in a cold London night as a metaphor, and I’d just add that this would be a dark alley with more or less uninviting and deserted factory buildings.

Not that this would be something that should be objected. Deep looming bass, menacingly swirling and stabbing synths of the analogue kind, broken beats kicking – there are moments when you suspect another Amon Tobin side project, and that’s definitely a compliment. I never really got into UK Grime, but this is an approach that I can relate to. Right on target.

Things sure don’t get sunnier on the Hex Wolves Remix. Creepier actually, as if the shady industrial complex we got lost in suddenly got populated by some equally shady people. If that’s what they are. This is probably the most sinister UK Garage variant I have come across yet.

I gotta admit – the B side is what I really bought when I got this. Andre Kronert and Michel Knop have known each other for a while as it seems, and that’s just fine with me as his versions put a different spin on the darkness provided.

Kronert repackages all that darkness, straightens out the beats and adds a big dose of forward motion. Knop’s dark spheres are home ground for Kronert – his recent “Paradox Dimension” EP contributions chose a similar direction, only that this time he gives it an extra dose of purpose and bang.

His main remix features a slightly distorted double layered monologue reciting from (or talking about) Alvin Toffler’s 1980 book “The Third Wave” talking about society in the post-industrial era. It’s clearly been added to transplant the sinister aura to some kind of dystopian future. Kronert’s production makes us understand that a) this is not science fiction and b) it’s not a bright future that lies ahead of us. And chances are he’s right, just as Toffler was in quite a few aspects of his book.

I for one would still always go for the Dub Remix – the option of leaving out all the talk, compressing the darkness to effectively muffled stabs and then propelling these with big room echo space is working really well. Kronert holds on to the fat bottom beat and the big cymbals to keep the track from transitioning to pure Dub Techno and remain perfectly compatible with peak time ambitions.

In consequence, Kronert’s Dub Remix turns the darkness from topic to tool, from subject to energy, from foreground to floor in a very convincing way. Big like.

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