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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Stephen Mallinder - Tick Tick Tick [Dais - 2022]

Stephen Mallinder, co-founder of England’s electro Dadaists, Cabaret Voltaire, has been around the block a few times, to say the least. He’s moved halfway around the world, completed a PhD, worked as a producer, and now, under lockdown, created his latest solo work, Tick Tick Tick

As you could guess from the pedigree, the album offers a kind of media archaeology of the once-championed tools of the trade, specifically the Roland TR-808. It matters little whether Mallinder had his hands on a real deal example of the TR-808, or if he has employed the software patch, as the device and its sounds were only available as the former as Mallinder came of age at that crucial juncture between post-punk and early house in the fertile waters of Britain’s underground club culture in the early 1980s.

Listeners familiar with house, and specifically its UK acid variants, will recognize digital hand claps, acoustic bass lines, and muffled, repetitive vocals, all set to the irrepressible four-on-the-floor beat that made the erstwhile acid such a longstanding genre. On this point, Tick Tick Tick is careful to slow things down to the occasional 2/4, and rarely achieves full-on rhythmic overload. This well-paced march gives ample room to appreciate the programming and sequencing that has become Mallinder’s métier of late in the world of production. 

For fans of Mallinder’s earlier work, the filthy, half-cocked recording values have been smoothed over; but, fear not, the constellation of source material and its composition remain productively weird. Dada doesn’t have to grow up, unless, of course, it wants to. 

 

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Colin Lang
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