Joel Mull ‘Sensory’

Joel Mull / ‘Sensory’

CD / Digital / Vinyl

Truesoul / Released February 14th 2011

There’s something genuinely edgy about the closing moments of Sensory. The track bearing the same name brings things down to an electronically eerie, beatless though wholly rhythmic finale the likes of which are made possible when due care and attention is paid to all aspects of production. And as with most things Truesoul, this can be said for all eleven tracks on the exceptionally well-realised collection at hand.

In an era when – for better or worse – less still seems to be perceived as more, it’s refreshing to see someone who seems disinterested in trends, and concerned only with the sounds they’ve always been about. It’s not that there’s anything outdated here, nor is it a case of rehashing any tired formulas. On the contrary, you could scarcely accuse a second of being worn; it’s just that few seem willing to embrace techno with such a proud, trance-tinged attitude.

Fans of more understated stylings shouldn’t worry though, as examples like the aptly titled Smoke Room prove, here’s a producer that could compete with a mid-noughties Ricardo Villalobos for atmospheric, off-kilter cadence. But it isn’t long before things start to take on more of a Swedish feel, as kick drums grow muscles, while tempo and intent intensify. Soon the vocal stabs and bobbing bassline of Keep On are jacking us into a pre-emptive state of anticipation, and we’re off on an album that feels more like a set as it grows and grooves.

Holographic and Danny Boy, both of which appeared on a recent EP, still sound fantastic, offering perhaps the toughest moments on here, with the latter taking things down a slightly tribalistic, Ovum-related route. And, elsewhere, more nu-school vibes underpin Kraut House, a track that may as well be bouncing on a layer of pure sub, while a variety of vocal and percussive effects ensure that, though simple, it’s effective in the best possible way. After 18 years of output Mull’s latest deserves some serious attention, though as the contents show, he’s more concerned with keeping his head down, and making the tunes that count.