Nicola Ratti – The Collection

Far too often techno is a quasi-molestation of subtlety, hard nosed and hardly endearing. Nicola Ratti contrariwise avoids this obviousness completely…

Taking and playing with precision engineering like the gaps between the sensory experience. Although not an inviting listen at the best of times, quite cold and steely industrial, the fortitude of the compositions lies in their ability to be unflattering ambience, which creates a paradoxically gentle caress of the ears. This means on the whole that the music is robotically mesmerising, calculated – but never clunky.

Nicola Ratti is a provocateur on this record: of techno, of seismic, of the furtive fine line between free bass and machine code. Albums generally have bridges – this has suspension poles in a microsound gravity station.

Handling itself like a projected cyborg Cassanova, the tunes perfuming the air pockets of the bass boings, click and pop scientific and cosmic musical friction, the raga element of Terry Riley and Eno gets reworked into a pulse star machine, emitting and breaking drone fabric into fragments of delightfully blotchy, almost tormented chemical drone weapons back to the “Equinoxe” of Jean Michel Jarre.

The centre of time is silence, and the centre of silence is weightlessness. Simulating being in a space suit. It’s no wonder dub techno became so popular among stoners this century. That aside, the dark pulse is key. Nicola Ratti embodies all these atomic collisions in time and space with a neat set of Noton friendly dub tech meets chiptune blippery bloopery. By far the best record I’ve heard from Ratti so far.

There is definitely an interstellar and cosmic vibe. One of the key success points here is the lack of overwhelming clinical harshness. One of the things I would like to hear in another release by Ratti is the sense of further embodied consonance; a mood of fullness. Dub techno is no headphone company without top notch records like “The Collection”. Purely satisfying, if not a coherent way to unsettle oneself into higher spiritual plains of thought.

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