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With its eleventh release, Republic goes from strength to strength, coming with a vengeance to deliver a bracing set of new-school sounds from Vancouver-based road warrior Jay Tripwire that are out to prove once and for all the deep connection between techno and soul. The wicked yellow smileys that dot the sleeve design say it all - and Jay is no stranger to rugged Detroit-style acid and electro-funk. Even the song titles here sound funky and dirty, but scratch the grimy surface and you'll discover hard, dark, shiny pieces of minimal but melodic tech that take the classic acid vibe and hammer it into fascinating new shapes. "Acid Beans" is an uptempo, gliding cut with a quietly furious 303 bassline and snares so distorted they're just computer blips. The spooky spoken-word samples, freaky keys, frozen echoes and loopy breakdowns keep the tension building irresistibly - it may be minimal in format but it's maximal in approach. "Hot & Sour" mines a similar vein, but it's slower, more seductive, and even darker, with fuzzy layers of Basic Channel-like static and dub echoes pulsating around the glimmering vocal sample at the core. On the flip, Republic stalwart Max Martinez' stellar rework of "Acid Beans" is on another level. Beginning with basic of elements of the track, including chiming percussive echoes and rubbery bassline, Max builds a supremely sexy true-school New York house workout with relentless percussion and layers of swirling keys, reaching a cascade of ridiculously musical acid lines. It's as if Max is out to singlehandedly reunify the broken worlds of tech and soulful house. But though the mix brings a more gentle feel to the EP, the vocal snippet is ironically even scarier here - "I freeze inside!" it seems to be saying. The Tonality EP serves up an ice-cold blend of sonic science that'll warm the hardened hearts of acid fanatics east and west. ...
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