You stand at the bottom of the ocean. It’s dark, but odd-looking fish with glowing appendages illuminate your vision. Water enters your mouth and your body accepts it as fresh air. You follow the circuitous path of glowing fish until you arrive at a clearing. In the center is a large, shiny black cube floating just a couple feet off the ocean floor. You touch it’s liquidy surface and a ripple spreads from your finger. You put one arm in, then one leg, then your head . . .
Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, there exists a style of techno so enticingly cavernous and ethereal that a listener could find themselves forever lost in it. Obsidian is the newest full-length from Benjamin Damage, a Berlin-based Brit that produces a distinctly warm brand of this kind of subterranean techno. Damage has crafted a collection of pulsing tracks primed for a dance floor at the bottom of the sea.
Industrial techno often comes in the relentless form of pulverizing beats and abrasiveness, but that isn’t the case with Damage. His music feels like a comforting embrace, with glowing synths and mind-bending pads that steadily materialize within the rhythmic haze. The progressive compositions are melodically sensitive, remarkably catchy, and possess an emotionally gripping quality that’s rare to find in the genre.
Damage spends a majority of the record’s duration in the darkness, but he emerges from the gloom with some glistening countermelodies on “Shimmer,” a ceaselessly building thrill ride with “Poly,” and a touching ballad with “Pulse Width.” It’s also flawlessly paced, making it one of the most exciting and inventive releases this year. If you’re seeking progressive subterranean techno, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)