Release Date: Nov 26, 2013
Record label: Pan
Berlin-based Brit Steven Warwick plays a sort of Jekyll and Hyde act with his musical output. His work in noise-drone duo Birds of Delay (alongside Luke Younger, a.k.a. Helm) and his early solo cassettes as Heatsick saw the producer exploring dense fields of highly textured, drawn-out sound. Yet on his debut LP for the always-charming PAN imprint — 2011's Intersex — another side of Warwick emerged, characterized by Casio-driven, near-tropical beatscapes.
Steven Warwick knows his cheese. On last year's Déviation EP, he mixed Casio jams with a Serge Gainsbourgh-like sense of wink-and-nod humour. The French connection became explicit on "C'etait Un Rendez-Vous," in which a car chase through Paris is narrated in spoken-word while a blearing saxophone slurs itself over a slow, lo-fi groove. That the narration managed Italian Job-style thrills while name-dropping 19th century Parisian city-planner Georges Haussmann is just one example of Warwick going beyond simplified ideas of "high" and "low" art.On Re-Engineering he reuses some of the same tricks, but this time the tone is different and more varied.
“Re-Engineering seeks to simulate its topological surroundings, camouflage like, collecting and noting down trends, and feeding this information into the record that you have in your hands.” As with basically every aspect of Steven Warwick’s latest album, this quote, taken from an accompanying “artist statement”, functions on two levels simultaneously. On the one hand, Warwick seems to be appropriating the language of “trend forecasting” and the like, satirising web 2.0 capitalism’s tendency to treat aesthetics as a matter of data management. On the other, he is sincerely and accurately describing the basis of his own practice.