Boomkat Product Review:
'Automatic North' is a hypnotic, long form techno experiment from Youngs, and just like everything else in his catalog, it's almost indescribable. Like Florian Fricke making a Ricardo Villalobos 12" and forgetting to print all the stems, or something? Completely essential, basically.
Written over the summer when Youngs had just finished moving house, 'Automatic North' was constructed using a synth, a drum machine, a shaker and a snare drum - the first things he found after unpacking a box in his brand new dedicated music room. The prolific Cambridge-born musician adds that the one constant in his life has been durational music. Ever since he was young, he was drawn to long tracks, not as background music but as deep listening. So his second plate for the Longform Editions label is another experiment that defies categorization, and revels in its awareness of the task in hand. It's nothing like its predecessor "Daybreak", but there are certain similarities between "Automatic North" and "New Emptiness" from earlier this year - even to his moody and brilliant Black Truffle album "CXXI". Those records' careful use of electronics, precise digital editing and an unstable percussive drive are all employed here, but using a warbling analog synth as the de-facto lead instrument, the track gets drawn into a loose psychedelic techno framework that's as unexpected as it is unconventional.
Bending chopped arpeggios into looping, chirping motifs and detuned groans, Youngs sets the sounds against a kick-shaker-snare pattern that sounds so broken up it's almost as if it's been randomized. He painstakingly works these sounds into a non-repeating mantra that runs for almost 20 minutes, harmonizing with Florian Fricke's early "Big Moog" modular experiments and the outer realms of contemporary minimal techno. Anyone who's interacted with Youngs' music knows he's ultimately incapable of sounding like anyone but himself; he might try on different micro-genres like most of us do teeshirts, but his gift is the ability to sound completely unique without losing the inquisitive passion for the initial idea. Youngs' take on psychedelic clubwise minimalism might not sound anything like 7AM at Sustain-Release, but it channels the essence of the sound and pipes it into a more intimate realm - somewhere secluded, private, and thoughtful. So good, seriously.