[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
All those years ago when he stated that techno was alive and well and had left the building, I’d wondered where it had gone off to. Specifically, the brand which Out Out practice; we had a small taste of it when he put out the ‘Breathing Again’ EP and then nothing. Not a wisp remained… he headed off in different directions as he’s wont to do and it seemed with the release of ‘Swan/Dive?’ he’d buried it for for good.
But to everything there is a time and believe me it’s back in the building on ‘Ridotto’. With a vengeance. These new ones are lengthy, too, so settle in… you’ll be here a while; you will not, however, be bored.
Picking up from where he left off a decade back, Mark Miller ramps up the tension and heads into what can only be termed unusual surroundings. Each of the eight tracks on here flow into and then out of one another with a deft grace which belies their somewhat inhuman precision. We’re given vocals as well but they’re not suffused by the anger his previous record featured, these are skeptical of the world around them. There’s a fair amount of cynicism to be found in what he’s discussing on “Saving Grace” and it just about overtakes the groove during “Panic Button”.
This is a fully electronic record, the guitars have been put back in their respective cases; a relentless, remorseless energy permeates every second of sound thanks to programming which could only come from this seasoned veteran. I’d wager he’s even employing the long lost art of real-time sampling because ‘Ridotto’ has a very live feel to it; either that or his editing skills must have gone beyond the pale. Regardless, this Out Out is fixated on the technological side of composition, the focus is at some points terrifying.
Cables exploding out of the backs of weary racks; no sleep again tonight, they won’t let me leave.
Nothing on here is done out of indulgence nor is there any kind of homage going on despite the title of record; you clever types have probably already worked out what he’s referencing. What I hadn’t reckoned on or predicted is that something like this could be channeled out of the occult current which surrounds all of us each and every day. He makes the machines sing out a chorus into which he somehow manages to insert himself because that’s the only feature to this release which is remotely human.
The synthetic and the organic co-exist here for a brief time in perfect balance; hopefully others will be blown away by the scale he’s operating at, this pair of ears certainly are. I had thought ‘Assumed Outrivaling’ was as far as his sound design went, then came ‘Asteroid 99’ and now ‘Ridotto’.
Truly, a limitless future.