Touching but remarkably intricate techno.
Skee Mask - 808BB
Skee Mask’s Compro album is among Spotify’s most played recent techno records—its biggest track has been streamed almost 600,000 times—but you won’t find his latest EP on the service. That might mean more people hear 808BB on vinyl, the format that best suits the murky, bass-heavy sound his home label, Ilian Tape, has pushed for the last few years. It also holds what sounds like Skee Mask’s biggest club tune, “Trackheadz,” a jacking peak-time bomb hinged around the straightest beat he’s ever released. But while “Trackheadz” is straight by Skee Mask’s standards, it’s still the wackiest techno weapon you’re likely to hear this month.
Take how the beat disintegrates around two minutes in, its thundering kick lost in a scramble of radio static before slamming back into gear. There’s also the way the mood shifts between melancholy and menace, as the soft synth tones that float across the mix are severed with sharp, broken percussion and rave vocals. The title track is more in line with Compro‘s intergalactic sound. The atmosphere is deep and the mood is introspective, with noodling bleeps that recall classic IDM. “TH808” is deeper still, the focus shifting between rolling, scattershot percussion and sombre tones. Like the best electronic music, 808BB is both touching and remarkably intricate—in other words, it’s business as usual for Skee Mask.