The comeback of techno X-factors Sandwell District is a meticulous unsheathing of tongs and hammer. Protecting their territory, setting a scene of grim isolation on an eerily quiet battle-scarred backdrop, Function and Regis draw out their pincer movement that you know is coming, but are still thrilled by when it develops the shadows. Suffice to say you have to buy into this protracted build-up if it’s just you and the stereo for company, but Fabric patrons will value the claustrophobia driven to banging down the doors.
The liquid drops of a Terminator finding one another, trying to connect with outside frequencies as the balaclava beats find rhythm and range, Fiedel’s “Andreas” becomes the layer down of the gauntlet, the flicker of the switch, and away Sandwell go. Gristly techno that bangs to a metallic pulse is classically taught (JPLS, Rrose), yet you don’t really care once the kick drum has found its voice. Just occasionally pausing to lick its lips (Carl Craig, Mark Ernestus), Markus Suckut’s “Hunt” rattles and reviles as a snake oozing with venom as mercury spills across the boiler room, the decks’ tone arms being used as thumb screws endorsed by Untold’s “Motion the Dance”, dropping wincing voodoo shattering rare brightness and hope.
Having proceeded like an intense, heart-weakening exorcism, the mix’s last quarter sounds a little cleaner. The toying process is now in effect, the heat brought back to a simmer, the physical battle won so time can be spent getting inside your head.
File under: Surgeon, Plastikman, Trevino