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silent servant - Negative Fascination (Album)
Silent Servant - former Tropic Of Cancer and Sandwell District producer, Juan Mendez - makes his stunning album debut with the poised fusion of epic techno, primitive post punk, and industrial electronics on 'Negative Fascination' for Dominick "Prurient/Vatican Shadow" Fernow's Hospital Productions. Now nine months since he stopped recording with Sandwell District, Mendez has explored his divergent yet compatible tastes to their fullest, recognising and reconciling their congruent rhythms, atmospheres and intentions with alchemical ability. If you're familiar with his previous trajectories you'll no doubt be seriously impressed with his balance and contrast of time-honoured elements, from the bellicose sci-fi romance of 'Process (Introduction)' to the full flight techno escapism of 'Utopian Disaster (End)', and if you're new to his sound - whether you're a noise freak wondering what the f*ck Hospital Productions are doing releasing a techno album, or a techno head who's baffled by the raspy drums - you should be quickly realising that this stuff is the way forward. From the wave-scanning intro he spins a bleakly noirish narrative, slowly building tension with 'Invocation Of Lust''s acid hypnosis and the stoic deployment of drones and agitated drum machine slaves on 'Moral Divide (Endless)' that resolves with gritted techno determination on 'The Strange Attractor'. Yet perhaps our favourite moment is 'Temptation & Desire', sounding like the converged darkroom visions of Front 242 and Stephen Morris, but if any cut shocks us the most, it's 'A Path Eternal', revealing SS at his most unreservedly sublime and vulnerable without his usual, armour-plated chassis of beats. It all surely adds up to one of the most impressive examples of modern industrial techno you'll hear this year, one which doesn't merely pay deference to its roots, but nourishes and augments them with the kind of vision that imparts the strong feeling that he's really been biding his time, 'til now...