Skee Mask - Compro 2xLP (Ilian Tape, 2018)
"Revivalism and dance culture aren’t a great match. Obsessing over the past feels misguided in a scene whose stated mission has always been to shake loose the future. In the early ’10s, a variety of producers started releasing music that toyed with the conventions of old-school drum and bass. Some tracks felt inspired, while others skimmed the surface of the sound without adding much. For a young talent like Munich producer Bryan Müller (aka Skee Mask), a challenge emerged: how to engage with the beloved, vast ’90s dance canon of hardcore music, Amen breaks, and ambient techno, without resorting to facile nostalgia.
The best Skee Mask songs do exactly this; they don’t sound quite like anything else. Müller’s use of both analog and digital tools creates a raw hybrid energy. Throughout his latest album Compro, drums land with a spongy bounce, while pads exude rich notes of fungal modular squelch. The combination lends much of the album an organic texture that, in the vein of classic Aphex Twin records, hints at technology from an ancient future—one born of a great cataclysm of the past.
Compro is Müller’s second full-length for Ilian Tapes, the German label which has become known for using techno as a jumping off point for incorporating breakbeats. After several releases under the name SCNTST, Müller put out his debut Serum EP on Ilian Tape in 2014 under a new, secret moniker: Skee Mask. Ostensibly a dub techno release, it incorporated slivers of breakbeat, which Müller would expand on for Skee Mask’s excellent 2016 debut LP, Shred. By then, breakbeat mania had moved into some of techno’s most rarefied spaces, and Shred captured intersecting trends, becoming one of the year’s breakout releases for clubgoers of many stripes." - Pitchfork (*8.6* - "Best New Music")