SCQ Rating: 76%
Note: this cover art boasts the vinyl track-listing, not the digital version that features eight tracks.
In anticipation of IglooFest, an annual, outdoor dance-party that takes place amid Montreal’s subzero temperatures, I haphazardly downloaded a pair of Max Cooper EPs for the sake of familiarizing myself. What seemed like a simple means to an end grew exponentially with each listen, and by the time I watched Cooper perform over a cloud of icy perspiration a week later, I’d breached a strain of techno that has always felt too inclusive for my liking.
Egomodal EP does belong to a different set of electronic ears – listeners who don’t pay much mind to the more indie-leaning “home-listening electronica”, I suspect – and is organized for uninterrupted momentum. For an hour-long EP, that means almost half of that span belongs to remixes, which sound a lot like Cooper’s originals despite a few extra gears working on overdrive. As for the main draw, Cooper’s five new tracks further the melodically charged vein of Expressions EP into increasingly complex arrangements. Most recognizable of that 2010 release is “Autumn Haze”, a track of crystalline blips that bounce intrepidly over a subtly nostalgic string backing. The challenging “Epitaphy” and “Micron” whirl around devious rhythm loops and haunting atmospheres whereas “Simplexity” takes the experimental route, flirting with industrial and dubstep flavours that muddle Cooper’s primary talents. Although easily one of the composer’s most generous outings, Egomodal EP is also rather patchy, sliding an assortment of remixes that prolong if not protect the record’s playability. (Granted, Rone’s cosmic take on “Simplexity” completely outshines the original.)
Regardless, here’s an artist who, over a dozen releases in, still hasn’t offered a full-length debut and really, who needs one? As long as each year finds another Max Cooper EP or maxi-single that reasserts his peculiar brand of techno, armchair appreciators and dancefloor purists can continue to coexist splendidly.
Max Cooper will be returning to North American shores for Decibel Festival, happening September 26th through 30th.