Release Date: Sep 9, 2014
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
The classically-trained polymath Daniel Martin-McCormick is anything but predictable. A veteran of the DC hardcore band Black Eyes, he has worked on experimental electro projects (Mi Ami, Sex Worker) and first started making techno for dance-not-dance label 100% Silk. His output as Ital is murky, spaced-out, exploratory techno. Still, the Brooklyn-based producer remains ambivalent about dance floor functionality, and once enthused to Anthem Magazine about creating music mastered for intimate home-listening, not, as he put it, "UK clubs." Endgame elaborates on that ethos, albeit with more hardware than 2012's Hive Mind.
There was always the structure of austere, minimal house beneath Daniel Martin-McCormick's first wave of releases as Ital—it's just that he didn't consider austerity as enough of an end. The two Ital albums that straddled 2012, Hive Mind and Dream On, scattered gristle and grit across otherwise pristine surfaces, whether in the service of the former album's alluringly creeping deep house builds or the latter's spark-flinging energy flashes. The music toed a loose boundary between meditative and unsettling, with both hooky dissonance and tactile ambience working on the base of an intricate 4/4 pulse he seemed just as eager to rivet down as he was to tear up.
Electronica is often presented as a deeply individualistic and personal genus of music, as a set of private abstractions and encrypted structures that gift a musician with the power to hide the secrets of her self in earshot of the whole world. Yet listening to the anonymous techno, speechless dance, and nebulous homogeneity of Endgame, another explanation for this celebrated impenetrability emerges, which is that the genre has now become so “democratized” that almost everyone now sounds more or less like everyone else. This means that, because every producer and his dog has access to much of the same equipment, sonics, and methods, it’s become almost impossible for anyone to generate distinctive works particular to themselves, so that in the end their unique truth can’t be disambiguated from the confused web of truths their music now inadvertently speaks.
Every few years a genre term like “outsider house” comes along. The person who coins it (in this case Ben UFO, via Juno Plus’ Scott Wilson) regrets it. The musicians to whom it is applied hate it. The commentators deploying it practically smother it with scare quotes. And yet it proves ….