Call Super Migrant

[Houndstooth; 2015]

Styles: techno, house
Others: Objekt, Kassem Mosse

In a feature for FACT, Call Super a.k.a. Joseph Richmond-Seaton produces I.M.T.’s “The Devil Made Me Buy…,” and explains: “It’s a record I keep for particularly bloke-y, hetero dance floors, which need to hear something like this…”

At least to me, within future-facing dance music, the need to move away from the unfortunate realities of modern clubbing environments and schools of thought feels essential and palpable. The hunger and the drive to bring that change into effect courses through both Rabit and Lotic’s brilliant EPs from earlier this year in an alarmingly violent and physical manner — and it’s evident in Jam City’s Earthly installments of recent date. Call Super is a voice very much involved in this conversation, but one that speaks in a hushed and refreshingly unobtrusive tone.

Not since Actress’s R.I.P has an album of “dance music” provoked such an unsettling self-questioning of my assumptions about rhythmic and textural function as Seaton’s Suzi Ecto. Fluenka Mitsu (released several months ago) and the recent Migrant aren’t the pair of home runs necessary to surpass that album’s achievements in the broader music community, but Seaton’s intent and ultimately his results presumably aren’t aimed at achieving that kind of product.

Like the run of EPs that preceded his album (The Present Tense, Black Octagons, and the Coup D’Etat EP as Ondo Fudd), both of these 12-inches from Seaton seem tailored to long-form 4/4 situations broad in scope and range, but it’s on Migrant that Seaton’s considerable skill is at its most precise and powerful. While in the same multiverse, they sit comfortably outside of the bland and bro-y worlds that the artists above are not only challenging the dominance of, but dismantling and reconfiguring into their own unique productions. These tracks aren’t notably hard-hitting or alarming in their content, but it’s precisely that which is most curious and revelatory about them.

Seaton’s meticulous, idiosyncratic drum programming and sculpting of noise and color is at the core of these tracks as always, with that rare energy and natural flow from the Depicta/Acephale II EP apparent once again. However, the biggest development with these latest releases is a more prevalent use of foreground melodic content, something always extremely risky when dealing with such minimalistic dance formulas. The harmonic and melodic gestures that populate these tracks — be they rolling bass figures or gleaming synth and percussion leads — often have a tendency to come across as crude and taxing in the hands of less capable arrangers, perhaps due to the construction of the melody, how it integrates with the vertical stacking of instruments, the timely progression, and the throwaway nature of such figures.

But it’s those damn melodies that are essential here. It’s clear that whatever Seaton’s compositional process is, he’s extremely adept at forming the core elements of a track in an organic manner. The tracks wouldn’t work with any one element removed or, perhaps even more curiously, if they weren’t arranged in such unusual but logical, awe-inspiring ways.

“Techno” music seems to excel in its peak-time functionality when the extreme ends of fine-tuned minimalism and impactful maximalism are afforded an intelligent and considered balance. With this in mind, the possibilities afforded to electronic musicians in the club and the festival — and, to some extent, home listening — are specific, hard to tap into, and rare, which really speaks to their cruciality in a modern musical world and why they need to be fought for and not condemned to some painfully hetero-centric bro-fest. But most people who’ve experienced a club system in the right hands have been privy to epiphanic moments previously unimaginable — moments for the people who “need to hear something like this.” Those moments are often linked to the skillful deployment of one special piece of music, perhaps 50 minutes into an hour-long set or at the finale to a festival. What Seaton has achieved with Migrant and Fluenka Mitsu is indeed a pair of very special pieces of music.

Links: Call Super - Houndstooth

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