After spearheading our very own "Cyber Grime Division" compilation earlier this year, Raul Vlădău, PKA Mutual Friend, returns for his full-fledged debut on Tessier-Ashpool Recordings. Inspired by his (frankly worrisome) preoccupation with the advent of AR, bionics, and transhumanism, he's devised an aural thesis on the urgency of these topics, in EP form.
Titled "Perfection", it is by no means a self-pat-on-the-back, but a sincere ode to the betterment of the human condition through augmentation. On the surface, however, it might just be the perfect music of the now: spartan, percussive workouts, taking the best elements out of all recent developments in club music and distilling them into an almost oppressively effective reduction, perfectly befitting our oft-mentioned descriptors of "Machine Music" and "Avant-Club". No bells, no whistles – just spatial economy and industrial-issue functionalism. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
The title track opens with pretty much the only real melody present on this EP – a tense, discordant three notes that manage to encapsulate the entire spirit of the EP in their portentous haunt, before almost literally exploding into pneumatic volleys of kicks and chilling echoes of the mission statement. Having already made the rounds on specialist radio and, most recently, Boiler Room, it's already proven itself an invaluable asset in any forward- thinking DJ's arsenal - moreso than we could ever elaborate upon in text form.
The star of the virtual B-side is "Triangulating", Mutual Friend's foray into Bristolian murk, seasoned with a generous dollop of heyday junglist histrionics and electro-futurism - at times hypnotic slog, at times invigorating jog. Closer "Evolve", on the other hand, is an all-out onslaught of the senses – built atop the bare, dried, titanium-alloy-coated bones of a drum track, servomotor rhythms and cybernetic arpeggios intertwine to form an ever-escalating club tool.
For my OptimixTM, I opted to incorporate elements of (and nods to) all the tracks on the EP, in what is otherwise a primarily original composition, meant to complement Raul's concept. Full of hydraulic concretism, sample- &-hold splurging, vitreous sound-design, cheeky easter eggs, horizontal maximalism, vertical sparseness, and unclassifiable, demolishing rhythmics, it's everything you might have come to expect from a Tessier-Ashpool OptimixTM (if you've been following us closely and have also been reading these).