Murmur: Undertone

Meanwhile, 2007

At first blush, Murmur’s Undertone seems promising. It begins with simulated surface noise and dub techno chords. But after repeated listens, the tracks are revealed to be dry, computerized minimalism. “Pansula” feels repetitive and digital, not analogue and hypnotic. “Mesh” has plenty of bass, but the beats are muffled and strange. Similarly, the percussion on “Flex” is formulaic, and the synths, while pleasant enough, never really develop. “Shift” reminds me of an old Octex track.

It’s not all bad. The production here is definitely slick. “Dusk” is a fine ambient track. “Bloodclot” would probably work well in a club. I like the bass on “Tap90.” It’s just that there’s so much good dub techno coming out these days, I’m all the more disappointed that these tracks feel so empty.

3/5 stars

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