Album Review: Area / ‘Where I Am Now’ (Wave Music)


Chicago’s Area works by a moniker that’s a nightmare should you want to do a background check on him through a search engine, but perfect for framing a closed book character secretly building up a back catalogue. Working in the darkest, dankest regions of house and techno, “Skyline Face Silhouette” is sunshine peering through a crack in Area’s basement of operations that the producer then attempts to swat away as if frightened by the intrusion – by far the brightest element passing through an album of ever lengthening, minimalist shadows.

Tub-thumping on disused drums of toxic waste creates pleasingly adroit rhythms (“Lag” and “Cecentric” bearing a dark kind of tropicality) allowing Where I Am Now looks to move into the light (“Moving Away”), preserved in a glitchy skin and making you think Area wouldn’t mind giving up his underground dwelling, were it not for a tormented, mystery-sustaining personality. “Mass Conserved” goes back to Area sounding concerned and tetchy when hope looks to prevail, treating the dance floor like a game of minesweeper. Some of the 4×4 ventures can be viewed as lacking immediate spark, but pardon Area for not doing somersaults when the balance and vibe is so precarious, particularly with the 10-minute forbidden calm and storm of “Missing A Few.”
File under: M50, Lightness, Simultaneous Poems

Matt Oliver

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