Metapattern – “No Signal” (TRUNCATE) [February 23, 2024]

Imagine you’ve been listening to Techno for literally 30 years, and this may be one of the few times where you listen to Techno that is mysteriously just very nice and pleasant. That is exactly what’s going on here in this “No Signal” release from Metapattern. 

Dark themes and sinister approaches are certainly common in Techno as well as throughout this EP, but it seems that there’s a different approach going on here. The only similar artist one may recall that has had a similar effect, might be Der Dritte Raum, or some of the releases off the late Silent Servant’s label Cytrax. Indeed, this seems like something Sutekh or RRose used to play… or even what the owner of BPM in SF would be playing behind the counter sorting records.

Truncate is no stranger to the stoic minimal vibe, and indeed, Metapattern’s prior release off the Mord label, “Silicone Cell,” is full of these types of anthems, but there’s another factor at play here. So, what really is going on? It seems like what we’re experiencing is machines capturing the artist’s soul in true Detroit-style fashion and done in a manner similar to Robert Hood’s minimalism. In essence, the subtleties and nuance have captured the joy put into Metapattern’s work. How it is done could be a little bit of the timing of the notes, the right percentage of swing, and how each part is pressed into each other in an expressive fashion, capturing the musician’s personality in very subtle ways. And that’s really what makes Techno great—capturing human expression and breathing life into the cold and lifeless machines and circuits.

The bounce on “Carillon,” with the simplified bass groove, typifies this kind of expression. It’s also in the way the tails of the ringing synth in “Duel” fall into the digging distorted lines in the base layer. It is also evident in “Roll” where the synth decay and reverb are timed perfectly to set up the very simplified and effective call-and-response drums underneath. 

“Bound” represents a different approach, but what unifies it with the EP and indeed the artist’s style, is the leaping feel of the gated or ‘note repeat’ arpeggio line that is made intense by the strong Midwest-style downbeat claps and the rising resonance in the synth, yet the track soon gives way to pleasant relief with delicate high hats that tie everything together nicely. Perhaps the biggest vibe of the track lies in the very distant tension carried on the way back in “Bound”, maybe coming in around near -40 db on the fader. It is super subtle to the point that you question if you’re hearing it. 

Bottom line, this latest “No Signal” release from Metapattern is definitely something you’re gonna want to listen to over and over again and do so happily, as if you’re sitting down with your morning tea, cream, and shortbread. Another great release off the Truncate label.

-Sean Ocean

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