TM404 / Compuriddim

TM404, 2013 / Tilliander, 2017

The essence of techno is utilitarian. Go back to rave or early acid house tracks and you'll hear just what a blunt an instrument they were. What would happen if you slowed it all down to an ambient pulse? Could it survive, or would it be a tool without a function? It's a question I'm fascinated with enough, that low-BPM electronica seems to always catch my ear among any list of new releases, which is how I found Compuriddim, by [Andreas] Tilliander.

To my surprise, I had known his work before: he was among the Mille Plateaux era of Clicks and Cuts, but I'd lost touch with him since the early 2000s. This EP of slow motion dub workouts was enough to send me into a tailspin of playing catch-up—which is when I found the 2013 album he recorded as TM404. That self-titled album relied even more on the iconic, acid house pulsations of a TB303.

Both these works lean heavily on the signifiers of the very genres they're actively distending. Two decades of evolved production techniques are brought to bear to crack the utilitarian shell of each style, to reveal a wealth of nuance and subtlety underneath the veneer. He doesn't add extraneous frills or fills, instead each individual sound contains its own microcosm of textural activity. We're given ample time to admire each blossoming sonic in the pitched-down tempos of this un-dance music.