Intense, acidic, performative...
'Arcology'

Intensely acidic out of Denver, Thug Entrancer does not solely aim for the environs of a sweaty warehouse. Described as a techno fantasist, the futuristic bounty hunter on the sleeve symbolises a follow-up album panning across as a mixture of time crisis, fugitive run and the walls closing in. The electro-acid world created and clicked on by Ryan McRyhew jumps from peaks and through grand canyons with a first person perspective.

Against an infinite undulation of 303s, McRyhew makes one of dance music’s most established tools sound as urgent and ominous as ever, while sequencing the album akin to videogame progression and learning curve. ‘Low-Life’ pauses in a polygon temple, and the title track is our hero feeling digital raindrops splash across his chiselled-by-mouse cheekbones. Sometimes tiptoeing through the vistas (‘Exo-Memory’) sensing freedom (‘Curaga’), and holding court in a DJ booth-turned-citadel fit for a Phantom (‘Terrain’), you would like to think the Entrancer is as demonstrative in his execution of the sum of its parts, even when his heart beats stiller. You know how avid joypad users tilt in time from side to side? Like that.

On the jarringly industrial ‘Xeno’, player one finishes by crossing over to the other side. While there are times when ‘Arcology’ feels less interactive and more like you’re watching the action unfold over someone’s shoulder, it greatly expands on previous album, the less adventurous/more closely contained silhouettes of ‘Death Before Life’. The balance between dancefloor and headphones means McRhyhew never restarts back at level one all the time: underneath the helmet is a human brain at the heart of whatever race is being run.

Creating a whole performance rather than unrelated pieces orbiting one another, ‘Arcology’ is an adventure – not something a lot of albums can lay claim to.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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