Boomkat Product Review:
Russell Haswell puts a donk on it for Diagonal in a compelling, combustible and personalised '37 Minute Workout' of fractured noise and techno deconstructions. Working under a title nodding to both the album's physicality and riffing on Paul Morley's idea that the perfect album length is 37 minutes long, it's a typically uncompromising session cocking a contrary view of the dancefloor. Rhythmically, it's by far the most "structured" album in Haswell's solo catalogue, consolidating the freeform, improvised approach and brutalist, visceral timbres of previous releases with an appreciation of rhythmic affect stemming from his formative daze split between Carcass shows and early raves at The Eclipse in Coventry, and the proceeding two decades of playing and collaborating with the likes of AFX, Autechre, and Florian Hecker. In a sense, it's more Jeff Keen than Jeff Mills - more blatz than bang - but on the right 'floor cuts like the opening junglist assault 'Spring Break Extended' and the scuttled electro of 'Unknown Known' just nail it. The album's at its best when it's even more obtuse and explorative, as with the slyly arrhythmic 'Chaos Clapping' and its reprise; in the bloodied spatter of 'Scratchy' and 'Scratchy Dub'; and two surprisingly touching highlights in the tortured wrench of his Coil tribute, 'Elph', and the haunting spectral convolutions of closer 'Convalescence'. In short: it's an obtuse dance pop album made by one of the most uncompromising and unique British artists of the last 20 years, here delivering one of his most intriguing and ultimately satisfying transmissions to date.