Pete Swanson: "Pro Style" music review


Pro Style, the latest record from former Yellow Swan Pete Swanson, finds him continuing to explore, dissect, reimagine, and reinvent his own mutant strain of techno. Like on his recent Man With Potential lp, the sounds here are raw and chaotic, home brewed and noisy, a lot like what you might have imagined a techno Yellow Swans might have sounded like. The framework is classic, a thumping four on the floor, but it's the setting and surroundings that makes Swanson's sound so compelling.

Very much like the more beat oriented jams of NZ noisenik Our Love Will Destroy The World, or the dancefloor experiments of UK urdrone free rockers Astral Social Club, Swanson seems to be coming at techno from a similarly genuine, yet sonically removed, angle. There's a bit of kitchen sink, mad scientist noisiness, with lots of the sounds obviously culled from an arsenal of synths and drum machines that are not all that dissimilar from what he employed in his noise making floorcore days. But Swanson has definitely proven himself, this is no mere dalliance, these jams are fierce and driving, and in a weird way, seriously funky.

The title track here is a mesmerizing blast of super layered, heavily textured techno, that has SO much going on. Total maximalist techno, tangled melodies, chirping fragments of high end, thick shard of rumbling bass thrum, the sort of groove you never want to end. The VIP mix of the same song just strips back the melody, and piles on the noise, adding even more hiss and glitch, the bassline pushed up in the mix, woozy and hypnotic, the sounds sharp and jagged, and yet the whole thing somehow still so mesmerizing and kinda catchy. The idea that you could get this sort of thing stuck in your head seems preposterous until you find yourself humming these sorts of melodies hours later.

The B side is the real gem here, a sprawling expanse of minimal noisescapery, all washed out shimmer, fluttery fragmented high end melodies, and super spare skeletal skitters, everything beneath a layer of gauzy ethereal hum, the vibe way less electronic, and more sort of Philip Jeck / Tim Hecker style soft noise ambience. The beats are not so much beats, as just more texture, buried rhythms and blurred pulsations, even filling up a whole side, you'll find yourself lifting the needle and playing it again and again and again.

Saucy retro Chippendales cover art too.

Pete Swanson: "Pro Style" LP