Review: Cliques – Dotted EP [TEMPA107]

Alright, your boy has had a ruff semester of grad school, so ruff in fact I hadn’t had time to write anything but I’m back in the hot seat and it’s time to sweat over the keyboard and stretch the verbiage. In my last review of Coulton’s Ambush, I closed out by commenting that it was high time that Tempa needed to incorporate some fresher blood into its system. After what seemed like four releases of AC, I was getting tired of the same name, but thankful for the beats if you follow. Anyway, maybe they caught the hint or read my last review (I’d like to think the latter; quite vain of me). But my prayer has been answered as the Australian wonder duo Cliques drop a big bad four pack of tunes for the 107th instalment for the seminal label.

Kicking off us with “Dotted”, Cliques strips it back to the bone with pointillist percussion that stacks upon itself like a lean techno roller, but its got that UK kink. A head wrecking rhythmic / melodic figure builds, cascading and psychotropic at its best. A flick of the wrist at the engineers desk splices some dub aesthetics, but nothing to overboard – a slight reverb here and some delay there to keep it from getting too linear. Meanwhile, snares tumble over themselves trying to keep up with the rolling sub pulses. The lazily titled “Untitled” has some sort of steppa’s thing going, kinda like what Mala does but slowed down till it is like -4 on the turntable. Much like “Dotted” before it, revolving fractals of bleeps play a major part of the melodic framework, but its not until half way through that things get a little teary eyed with some beautiful, ghostly organ that sounds as if it is played 30,000 leagues under the sea. Truly engaging stuff compared all the bleep and bass going on in this plate. But its swept into the undertow and the 4×4 come backs with a vengeance.

Dro Carey tackles “Dotted” beefing up the kicks while applying some 80’s boogie DNA to the proceedings for a delightfully funky re-shape on the stripped and lean OG. Squiggles of odd melodies and some synth slap bass tickle the ears making Carey’s remix a tad more musical, but all the better for it. Finally, Cliques close us out with “8th”. More broken and darker that what the rest of the plate offered thus far, it’s built upon now classic hardcore ‘nuum aesthetic data – patois chat, pulse x detonations, garage rhythmic pivots and sub weight that could have held its own back in the Velvet Rooms. It’s got this ’04 dubstep style thing going, almost something that could have come off of Rephlex’s seminal Grime 2 comp. Probably my pick outta the bunch with its skunky paranoid textures and itchy rhythms but that’s just like my opinion man.

TEMPA107 is out now and available from Redeye, Bleep, Boomkat, Intense and Juno Download.

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