Release Date: Mar 18, 2016
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno, Pop/Rock, Experimental Techno, IDM
Ital Tek has made a nearly perfect album, wherein each note and beat contains an intimate history of Alan Myson’s decade-long artistic development. From Hollowed’s pensive opening track, “A Delicate Balance”, to “Vacuum I’s” understated pads and lithe rhythms, the latter the equivalent to a person’s heart beating at the pace of a panic attack, Myson’s compositions descend into the abyss without fearing the endless fall. Darkened textures and mixed samples of hellish discord tie together the theme of vast emptiness.
Majestically melancholy waves of sound, grounded by a constant rustle that recalls the warmth of a favorite old records and the comfort of a gentle rain in equal measure—those are the first sounds you hear on "A Delicate Balance," the lead track from the new full-length from Brighton's Alan Myson, better known as Ital Tek. A slow, deliberate rhythm builds; layers of harmonics gradually add to the power of the of the melody, before it all quickly fades into somber silence. The very next song, "Redeemer," has the feel of archaic religious ritual, its arcane, layered over ominous drones and skeletal percussion.
Ital Tek's fifth full-length is drastically different from anything else he's done before, retaining no more than traces of the dubstep, juke, and jungle influences present on his prior recordings. Beats are present, but they're muted and sometimes buried under the washes of synths and altered guitars; likewise, the bass tones are tense and anxious. This is music for solemn reflection rather than dancing, yet it's still informed by the dynamics of club music production.
Forget what you know about Ital Tek—his fifth Planet Mu album is a total reset. There's barely a lick of his beloved footwork on Hollowed. Instead, we get 60 or so minutes of droning guitars, synth and choral lulls, big dramatic peaks and lovely deep troughs, and with just enough bass weight to not quite forget where the Brighton-based producer comes from.
Alan Myson, aka Ital Tek, has been something of a self-appointed keeper of the flame for traditional dubstep ever since his debut, cYCLiCAL, was released in 2008, sounding very much like every other post-Skreamizm album or EP around. Since then, he has stepped to the edges of the genre's paradigms, but never appeared to have the guts to make the leap that was needed as dubstep's initial appeal slowly became stale. With even the genre's unwilling figurehead, Burial, branching into new territory, with emphatic results, it seems Myson has finally woken up and smelled the cold, morning-after-a-rave coffee inadvertently mixed with vodka, because Hollowed is a colossally different beast to anything he's delivered thus far.