HTRK, Work (work, work)
Using an impressive control over the true contours of electronic sound
HTRK’s Work (work, work) is a curious mix of dark and light. The overall sensation is murky and moody, as melancholic as anything imagined by the most morose of goths. But then, beneath all that, lurks a sound governed by what has to be a real giddiness for electronics; a lightness of touch and technique that makes the album’s moaning howls of pain somehow strangely incandescent. “Ice Eyes Eis” opens with a focus on those moans, slotting alongside the operatic electronic likes of Balam Acab, but “Slo Glo” more accurately addresses the template for the rest: slow, creeping bass throbs, spooky trails of disembodied vocals, and springy, sproingy drum sounds that sound desiccated and dry. There’s a lot of range in those drum sounds, as meticulously minimal as they are, and the same goes for influxes of effects that wander into songs (a weirdly chirping synth line halfway into “Eat Yr Heart,” the hissy hyperventilating of a drum machine near the end of “Skinny”) and then out again. Nothing overstays its welcome, and even when nearing the realm of rock, as in the M83-like “Synthetik,” HTRK make good on an impressive control over the true contours of electronic sound.