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Boomkat Product Review:
Karen Gwyer returns to DBA, reenergised and packing some of her tightest drum programming and absorbing, beatless synth arrangements
‘Man On Mountain’ is Karen’s first solo release proper since the ‘Rembo’ LP in 2017, which distilled her deeply rugged hybrid of Detroit techno and AI-style rave to widespread acclaim. Two years later, Karen bounds back with two entrancing examples of her mutant techno style flanked by two rarer excursions into black hole ambient and Carl Craig-like synth scapes that demand to be heard by her keen following.
The colourfully plumed ‘Faces on Ankles’ gets the EP into gear with a deft mix of 2-stepping drums, merry-go-round melody and LFO-style bleep riffs that carries its weight beautifully into a sort of pounding hi-tech folk dance and the cranky black hole ambience of ‘Ian On Fire’. The flipside is then given to ‘Cherries on Shoulders’, demonstrating her livewire hardware intuition at its most fluidly hypnotic, and leading into sleek synth synth churn on ‘Ribbon On Neck’ recalling C2 or Rob Lowe trips.