Applescal – A Mishmash of Changing Moods

January 01, 1970

(Traum Schallplatten)  




For his second full-length in less than a year,
Pascal “Applescal” Terstappen isn’t refining as much as he is
recycling. The Dutch house and techno producer is still turning out lush
abstractions, but he’s shed club tracks altogether, and there’s little in the
way of new developments on A Mishmash of
Changing Moods


The colorfully unconventional catalogs of Aphex
Twin, Fairmont, and Extrawelt loom large over Applescal’s A Slave’s Commitment, issued in 2009. On A Mishmash, these influences retain a firm grip. Tribal percussion
loops prop up gauzy descending scales before “The Storm Is Yours”
bursts – it’s a few minutes that mirror the shoegazer bedroom techno on the 2009
debut, while “Black Spirals” is more concrete. Wilting tones and
simulated guitar feedback are shaped into “Black’s” prominent lead
melody, and alongside one or two others toward the LP’s close, these missives
seem tied to a standalone theme that would make for a fine 12″ EP. The
handful greatly contrasts the chugging half-time of “Roofs of Heaven”
and puts the difficult “In Theory” out of mind entirely. Indeed,
lulling, distorted chord couplets are conjured a-plenty on A Mishmash, but the Moods don’t shift in quite the manner that one would hope.


Slave’s Commitment
, as well as 2009’s Paul for President 12″, are just as uncompromisingly
progressive as A Mishmash of Changing
is, but the former productions play host to a fair share of 4/4
techno, and the second album never gets close to that. In fact, save for a
welcome, riveting hidden track that pins gritty machine squawks and brisk
hi-hats against a stomping undercurrent, A
is void of whirring dance music.



Albeit strewn with screeching synths and erratic
beat changeups (see A Slave’s “The Forms of Abstract Life”), Applescal has proven that he’s able to
roll out volatile techno and house alongside the stuttering other stuff too. A Mishmash would benefit from a
floor-filler or two, even if it means disturbing the already rather disturbed
order of things.


“Black Spirals,” “Observing
Enlightenment” DOMINIC UMILE




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