Boomkat Product Review:
Since at this stage in his career Barker is best known for removing the kickdrum from techno and trance, it makes perfect sense that his obvious left turn would be to put it right back. 'Unfixed' is a 4 track EP that feels like an exploration of classic electronic milestones, assembled with the same rigorous processes that made 'Debiasing' and 'Utility' so memorable.
'Birmingham Screwdriver' boots us off in fine style, led by an itchy rhythmic backbone that pokes into squelchy acid, somewhere between MMM’s classic Donna and the jitter of Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker. 'Wick and Wax' is a trance-inducing rush in the vein of Orbital’s ‘Chime’ x Sueño Latino, rendered with aded dopamine, and ‘Golden Hammer' feels like Gescom’s Key Nell on a breakbeat, rather than a hip hop tumble.'Percussive Maintenance' closes the EP, tying a few of these threads together for a sort of technical study in bass drum design that uses liquid and dubwise effects to land on the same fertile ground Second Woman traverse so well.
“The four tracks emerged from a session that started out as both a technical study in bass drum design and cognition, specifically problem of “functional fixedness”, which describes a mental block that restricts the use of an object to its traditional application. Exploring the so-called “generic parts technique”, whereby an object is broken down into its component parts to help reveal novel solutions, the typical bass drum elements of waveform, transient, and noise were re-combined through modular synthesis to become fluid, expressive and dynamic.
However, what began as a rule-based experiment was overtaken by a more organic music making process without specific conceptual constraints, which allowed the music to live and breathe. Tracks were started and then left unfinished, only to be approached again and again over lengthy intervals. Stylistically the result a mix of raw, stuttering, psychedelic growl, kosmische techno, and infinite iterations and of a single groove. In this regard, Unfixed sees Barker not only deeply invested in musical experimentation but also exploring his own biases in both composition and sound design. The result is, once again, a sound and musical framework all of his own.”