The tendency to present underground dance music in an anonymous, faceless context seems like a zeitgeist-capturing reaction against the Beatportisation of techno, but any attempts to assess this as a re-emerging narrative fails to take account of Berlin act Pom Pom's output. Since 2001, a time when the one-note loop had worn paper thin, the mysterious pseudonym has been responsible for a visceral, oftentimes eerie, but nearly always unpredictable output. Following on from 32, which saw the Space Hall-affiliated producer(s) venture through dub, disco and DBX-style jacking, 33 presents a more menacingy cohesive approach.
Horror synths pierce the stacatto, metallic drums on the opening track, followed by a driving, churning workout on the A2, which sounds not too different to the noisy tones of Dettmann's "Apron" crossed with Andy Stott's merciless claps. B1 and C1 go even further down the wormhole, with buzzsaw basslines copper-fastened to razor-sharp hats. But just when both of those arrangements teeter on the precipice of intensity, Pom Pom imbues them with melodies that, while not something you could hum along to in the shower, do have a resonance that sticks in the brain after a few plays.
This tendency is even more audible on the less abrasive tracks on 33. C2 in particular marries the melodic sensibilities of Italo with the spacey, haunting textures of Detroit techno.