After emerging in 2011 via a rapid-fire series of groundbreaking EPs, Brooklyn-based producer Ital (Daniel Martin-McCormick) surprised followers by releasing his debut album “Hive Mind” on Planet Mu in February 2012. The record immediately struck a chord with both critics and fans for its fascinating use of house rhythms to bolster fractured, alien landscapes with a surprisingly tender emotional power. Seemingly unconcerned with dance music orthodoxy and informed by years in the noise-punk underground, his compositions came out of left field, constructed on primitive software with bizarre, culture jamming samples. Dance music in New York was re-emerging after a period of stagnation, and Ital was among the first of a younger wave of producers to invigorate it with a dose of visceral vitality. Since then, he’s remained at the forefront with a remarkable EP for esteemed label Workshop, a collaboration with Hieroglyphic Being and a pair of excellent EPs on his own Lovers Rock imprint. Now Ital has returned to Planet Mu for “Endgame“, his most singular and hypnotic work to date.
Vertigo-inducing, nuanced and highly evocative, “Endgame” is a delirious pleasure to dive into. The album’s textures often explore inviting spaces, only to bring the listener “somewhere uncomfortable, perceiving constant chaos and collapse in the periphery of your vision,” as Daniel describes. This is especially evident on the haunting title track, its dizzying reverb lingering while the bottom drops out, leaving the listener suddenly on the edge of a cliff they weren’t even aware of, and the glacial shift in “Beacon” from warm, bubbling chords to disconcerting stillness. Meanwhile, throttling techno tracks like “Whispers In The Dark” & “White II” burst with undeniably seductive dancefloor energy, each jagged edge and oozing melody uniquely formed.
One of his goals from the start was “to keep things liquid. The music had to come from that natural, unforced space.“ Inspired by recent excursions into psychedelics, “apocalyptic“ strains of minimalist composition, and his sense of “eerily ubiquitous post-globalization culture-leveling,“ “Endgame“ is a techno album that teems with ideas. Recorded with a select arsenal of hardware, mixed with M Geddes Gengras at his LA studio and mastered by acclaimed engineer Rashad Becker, the final result is a shimmering blend of his swirling, effects-laden live sets with a deeper, more penetrating emotional and melodic clarity. “Endgame“ sees Ital unlocking his own sound and pushing himself to new depths sonically and technically, a figurehead for a strong international community as well as a truly visionary artist in his own right.
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