Unknown: Unknown – ep reviewUnknown: Unknown (Champion Sound Recordings)
Out Now

Little to nothing is kept known about this mysterious producer and the track titles are just as vague, consisting merely of numbers. Today see’s the release of the artists new EP tho & here’s what Simon Tucker makes of it.

When a producer states that they “want to remain anonymous and let the music speak for itself” it inevitably leads to people wondering who it is. This can be a good thing for a new producer as it lets them build up a nice catalogue of tracks, sit back and enjoy/ take on board criticisms / praise etc allowing them to develop their style with no pressure and no expectations (a-la Burial, more of whom later).

When it is a current producer, and this one most certainly is, as the e-mail sent to several blogs started “This is my new project”, it will start the obsessive “who is it?” ball in motion. Names thrown about already include: Skrillex, Four Tet, or the aforementioned Burial. It has been denied that Unknown is any of these so the guessing games continue: is it Ellie Goulding (who picked up on #8 and posted it onto her Facebook page)? Is it Thom Yorke (doubtful) or is it Sir Cliff taking a new direction this Christmas? (I may have made that last one up).

In the end, it’s not the person behind the music that’s important, it’s the music itself so let’s talk about that shall we?

Unknown have released 9 tracks and two remixes since that first cryptic e-mail was sent. They have received praise from the likes of Dummy Mag, Boiler Room etc and are now finally about to drop their debut EP on Champion Sound Recordings.

The four-track EP will inevitably draw comparisons to Burial. The tracks exist in the same dreamy, rain-soaked, world that a lot of William Bevans’ compositions dwell. There are however enough differences to make this stand out on its own.

#1: This is the most obvious ‘Burial-sounding’ track on the EP. The distant muffled sounds are similar but this track incorporates a nice four-to-the-floor bassline which is more reminiscent of early Four Tet releases. The track has a nice House-style edge to it which makes this a more danceable track than quite a few of ‘Unknown’s’ previous releases. The track could become a big club tune if played at the right moment.

#2: Opens with a nice bit of synth dread with backward masked vocals, instantly putting the listener into a different headspace than the previous track. When the bass hits after a minute in it hits hard, the track getting harder and harder as the layers build. Glorious female vocal builds until the track explodes into life. This track is not for your inner monologue, or sitting around internalising, this one’s built for the dark recesses of a sweaty club. Love and life seem to have gone wrong on this one and it’s time for your aggression to come out on the dance floor. Very Gothic in feel and something you can imagine Cosey Fanni Tutti dancing to.

Unknown: Unknown – ep review#3: Takes us back down deeper within ourselves. The track is much colder, paranoid, with layers and layers of white noise underscoring the main dread. This would make a perfect accompaniment to a modern Lynch movie and is the most perfect ‘headphone moment’ on the EP. The heavy bass on this is more reminiscent of a Modeselektor or Pinch production, than ‘you know who’.

#4: A crackle of a record, some backward synth, gospel samples…. this must be the light at the end of the tunnel. A nice bit of euphoria to lift us back, blinking into the sun, and a track that a more traditional dance act like Orbital etc would die for. The unexpected breakdown at three minutes in is a real treat. If this isn’t used to soundtrack a Glastonbury montage in the future then I’ll eat Mr Eavis’ beard.

All in all this is an excellent EP and one that is very well crafted. There seems to be a lot of heart and soul at work here. As is the nature of electronic EP’s, a DJ will obviously pick the right cut to play at the right time which is, in a way, a shame as the EP is perfectly sequenced and should also be enjoyed from start to finish in the running order that Unknown have selected.

This bodes well for a full length LP and is well worth ignoring the, occasional, Burial similarities.

Unknown’s Bandcamp page is here.

All words by Simon Tucker. More work by Simon on Louder Than War can be read here.

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Raised by music obsessive parents on a diet of Ska, Bowie, Queen… and the Bay City Rollers. Discovered dance music and heavy metal at the same time making for a strange brew of taste. I do this for the love of an art form which welcomes all types and speaks to us all. Find me on twitter @simontucker1979.


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