Toronto’s techno ambassador to Detroit has returned to the fore with an intriguing drop on Social Experiment Records. The Toronto-based No.19 imprint, founded, owned and operated by Toronto’s own Nitin and Jonny White of Art Department, has provided Gow with an appropriate platform to explore a more minimal, analogue sound than the producer has explored in the past on imprints like Transmat and KMS.
Beginning with a spacey introduction, Inception prepares the listener for something that they may not have expected, but have now entered. Melting one track into the next, Fly Tipping is where the album’s bassline begins to display its full flavour. Not overly energetic for the setting, the dubbed-out and minimalistic analogue sounds take the listener on a trip with no intended destination. Cymbals mirror the analog sounds to combine for an introspective experience.
As the album progresses, the album remains confident and confirmed of its refined flavour. With Curl de Sace, Gow adds a more impactful bassline before making great use of a reverbed industrial sonic palette. The track is at one moment both danceable and yet conscientious of its intention and place within the entire album.
Throughout the production the energy levels remain not excessive, but appropriately tamed, as is on display with the aptly named transitional track that follows.
As a first taste of Gow’s minimal output on a local label, the Lost Days project is a proven a success for the hi-tek soul oriented DJ and producer. Sonically it sounds as though Gow took a trip from Detroit to Berlin, but without losing his soulful rhythm.
Refraction acts as a sort of fulcrum point in the album, taking time to wind down the tempo of its precursor with an ambient experience before giving full reign to the bassline of Lost Days. Taking a note or two from the Borderland partnership of Moritz von Oswald and Juan Atkins, Gow channels a tasteful reverb against a driving kick-drum to build up a thoroughly satisfying minimal techno loop, enthralling enough to dance to for hours.
As the title track, Lost Days is the album’s focal point and summarizes the dubbed-out, mesmerizing tone wondrously, leaving a feeling of desire for more of the same output from Toronto’s long-time techno stalwart.
Still Life is a simplified minimal techno track that could slot into many atmospheres during the night, whether opening a room or continuing the affair well into the morning. Its straightforward kick-drum and hi-hat combination is hypnotic in its slow escalation, never wavering out of control, but rather reigning things in and maintaining composure.
More reminiscent of Gow’s earlier work on Transmat and the energy of hi-tech soul, Too Late revolves around a four-on-the-floor drumbeat as well as a sample nodding to the producer’s hip-hop inspired past. The track’s centrepiece is a synthesized loop riding on top that keeps all the attention while always circling back to the beginning.
The album slowly draws itself to a close in a similar fashion to the way it began with Beyond Time. With nautical, dreamy-sounding synths, Gow selects an eerily escalating sample of an aircraft taking off before exiting the atmosphere. The album ends with as much closure as one could ask from such a thoughtful experience, which often creates more questions than could be answered, but none about the talents or direction of the Toronto DJ and producer.
You can buy “Lost Days” by Greg Gow here
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