Boomkat Product Review:
Stripped down ambient dub techno variations recorded live using Roland's legendary acid machines. You already know you want this.
There are few producers who can make acid/dub techno sound so elastic. Swedish veteran Andreas Tilliander has made his dedication to Roland's vintage grey boxes well known over the years, and he might have topped his entire career here. "Syra" literally translates to "Acid" and is Tilliander's third "musical diary" since 2013, where he squeezes out every last ounce of soul from his instruments in an attempt to follow the musical treasure map laid out decades ago by Phuture, Plastikman and Larry Heard.
The album was mostly assembled during a residency in a tiny makeshift apartment studio Berlin, so Tilliander was forced to strip down his studio setup and concentrate on the bare bones of his sound. It's also a little more upfront material than we've gotten used to; while the TM404 project was originally established as a more ambient exploration of dub techno, over the years it's evolved into a heavier, clubbier proposition. This is reflected on sly bangers like the cavernous 'Vactro' or 'Spastik'-adjacent 'Rymdeko'.
The most successful moments though emerge when Tilliander lets the machines step and scale into more pensive, psychedelic spots, like on the bubbling, ecstatic 'Roofto' or molasses-slow, reverb-drenched closer 'Ulf Eriksson', a track dedicated to the Kontra-Musik boss. "Syra" is a loveletter to acid house, to dub and to Roland - it's a shining example of the creative places you can go when you limit to yourself to just a handful of ingredients and at a time when accessibility is key and choice paralysis grips so many of us, it's refreshing.