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Space + Time * Liquids + Metals

Cusp is Mark Gage, who may be more familiar as techno-guru Vaporspace, or to Wire-philes as 'that bloke who remixed Dugga Dugga Dugga'. This CD collects the two Cusp EPs released on Probe, adds a couple of unreleased tracks, and then bungs it all into one continuous mix for good measure.

Unlike many Swim releases this has a defined aim or theme and genre to sit in. Make no mistake—this is thumping, take-no-prisoners techno. Clubbers will probably lap up its assault on the ears, from the evolving elements of digital noise and layers of percussion of Mercury Rising to the relentless attack of the classic Drone um Futurisma. For those of you that find such tracks mere 'easy listening', check out the noise terror of Liquid Dimension, with a distorted bassline and set of drum loops that would make even Mark Stewart curl up and hide under his mixing desk.

The only real problem with this sort of album is that it all sort of merges into itself, making it difficult to pick anything out and it can become tedious listening. Mind you, the way everything is hammered into you means it's certainly impossible to ignore—this is techno for the hard of hearing. Although listening to the full 71 minutes in one go is likely to drive you insane, in smaller doses this is an impressive slice of banging music. If you like the genre, or are a DJ wanting an extra bit of kick for your dancefloor, you could do much worse than pick up a copy. If you're more of a quiet, leisurely type then avoid; this'll probably scare the wits out of you.

Craig Grannell (April, 1999)

Cover artwork