Since the release of her emotive and satisfyingly dense debut LP Needs Continuum, Karen Gwyer’s output has varied widely. It’s hard to impose a narrative or join the dots between releases, but if there’s a shared characteristic between each subsequent record it’s her refusal to adhere to norms- from the busy, propulsive acid as of Lay Claim To My Grub to sprawling, sample-laden reveries of her collaborations with Torn Hawk, Gwyer’s work is rich with unexpected left turns.
Which isn’t to say she can’t bang it out- her monthly Radar Radio slot regularly veers into punisher territory and her contribution to the Truants series placed high on Crack’s best mixes of 2015 list for its expertly orchestrated blend of techno and experimental noise.
Whilst last year was fairly sparse in terms of releases- the exception being her excellent, acid-flecked Bouloman EP for Berlin label Nous- 2016 has seen a flurry of activity, with Gwyer lending her skills to a split with Beatrice Dillon for Alien Jams, remix work for Cavern of Antimatter alongside Hieroglyphic Being and a belting contribution to Don’t Be Afraid’s latest compilation.
Karen Gwyer remains one of the most consistently interesting producers operating in the nebulous reaches of leftfield UK techno, and her noisy, textural contribution to the Crack Mix series serves as a testament to this, deftly arranging cuts from Bruce, Strategy and more.