Stroboscopic Artefacts have carved out a niche in the world of atmospheric, industrially-inflected techno so personal that it's almost instantly recognisable, which represents quite an achievement for Luca Mortellaro's label. Its calling card seems to be one which effortlessly blurs the lines between the abstract and the dance floor, all the while indebted to a variety of modern primitivism, the like of which has been conspicuously coursing like a lateral line through a peculiarly European take on the techno simulacrum for a little while now.
'Monad XV' is the latest digital-only instalment in a more experimental series for the label, and it's a typically textural journey to the heart of darkness and beyond courtesy of Roman duo Plaster.
And it's releases like these which, although hardly full of fun and frolics, I find the most life-affirming. 'Quasar', 'Uret' and 'Tangle' each operate on a similar level of dramatic intensity but shift and evolve to remain distinct and autonomous.
'Quasar' is an intimidating piece and the most elegant and relies on a vibrating heartbeat of percussion around which chaos reigns.
'Uret' is nervy and urgent, and is carried along on a tight battery but similar in the intense peaks it reaches. There's a impression of being on the brink of something momentous with this pair, a sort of "Standing On The Edge Of Getting It On" feeling which is beyond control.
'Tangle' is well-named and, consequently, ushers in a sort of entropic ambience where friction and conflict coalesce, whereas 'Libra' stands out by virtue of being a sanctuary from all that has gone before and is the industrial equivalent of a buddhist bubble.
An impressive release and one that more than proves there's life in the old dog yet, Plaster's sound feels razor sharp and manages to encapsulate a wealth of intensity and feeling while exuding a swaggering self-confidence.
Title: Monad XV EP
Label: Stroboscopic Artefacts
Our rating: 8/10