07 10

Mumdance & Logos Proto Tectonic


Ripping on the press release isn’t particularly big or clever, but expressions like ‘future-licked’ can be troubling at best, because what a cop-out, right? Unlike, say, sticking a few gunshots over your lukewarm synthscape and calling yourself Grime 2.0, you can’t just casually lace a track with future-sound. When something arrives genuinely sounding like someone sent it back through a tear in space-time, it’s an unsettling, disorientating experience, as likely to upset and offend as it is to captivate.

That’s not quite where Proto takes us. Instead we encounter a preoccupation with the concept of the future. Many of the 10 tracks make a heavy reference to points in the history of UK dance music where time really did appear to slip out of joint. Title track Proto tethers down the duo’s trademark weightless sound to a mutant-jungle vibe. Dance Energy’s overdriven breakbeats lurch across the floor with menacing, late 80s intent. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re great, but the resulting incoherency betrays insecurity about the challenges modern producers face when it comes to staying fresh.

That said, there’s some excellent club weaponry here. Tracks like Move Your Body and Hall of Mirrors bristle with an unflinching, hyper-modern energy. Others like Chaos Engine carry an ice-cold grimey swagger, as you might expect from Mumdance. It’s a good effort, there’s just this strange sense that it’s unwilling to recognise itself as a product of its day. Perhaps it’s time we stopped conflating the modern with the future so readily.