Troy Pierce continues his mission up river into the heart of darkness, with arguably his most accomplished collection of tracks to date. Made up of music composed almost exclusively on the road, the ‘Gone Astray EP’ is driven by choices and ideas that would not normally have surfaced in a typical studio environment. It’s an innovative, ambitious project, not least because it tackles so many abstract themes in one sitting, often taking more than one mix to fully explore the hidden pathways that disappear off into this dense catacomb of sound.
‘Even If It’s Alone (Black Acid)’ is a good case in point. The original version is abstract, freeform techno full of disorientating bleeps, metallic snare rolls and messed up vocal overdubs that offer the listener little in the way of a safety net. The Louderbach remix however is an altogether different trip. Sparser and pinned down by a mechanical hihat/snare pattern, it utilizes spaced out delays and reverbs to create an equally intense atmosphere. Further highlights include the classic arpeggiated hookline at the heart of ‘Lost On The Way To DC10’ (prepared moments before a gig at the self same club) and the urgent tribal stomps of ‘Klitkut’ - another track with Ibiza after hour origins.
Dramatic changes of pressure abound throughout the whole project, with Pierce making full use of the audio spectrum as he painstakingly deconstructs and reconstructs frequencies. Each sound is teased and twisted in all manner of directions, (check out the morphing acid line on ‘Golden’) with particular attention paid to the drum machine patterns that are refreshingly free from the linear constraints of standard techno. As a result the sound seems to move forward like a wall, constantly changing room size and shape, which is why you’ll be forgiven for sometimes finding a door where the window should be.
Going astray can be a good thing, especially when you end up finding a better way.
‘Gone Astray EP’ is available on double vinyl, with the CD and digital download releases including two additional tracks ‘Word’ and ‘Go Without Me (Stay Away)’.