Published Nov 14, 2019In the past decade, electronic artist Harry Aguis has released a string of singles and EPs under the moniker Midland. A patient deconstruction of the codes of techno and minimal house, his catalogue built to the sunny, disco-leaning hit "Final Credits," published in 2016. The track felt like a rigid left-turn into funky organic grooves, an exciting — yet logical — new direction for the British producer.
After a victory lap that included an acclaimed Fabriclive 94 mix, Aguis is back with The Alchemy of Circumstance, an album that, yet again, marks a departure for Midland. The four-track EP opens with an upbeat drum break that soon clashes against a cold synth bass, and then progressively breaks down to its simplest expression. A tongue-in-cheek move that feels like a middle finger to fair-weather fans.
What follows is an exploration of synthetic music. "Frequency FM" nods to meditative IDM, while "Play It as It Lays" evokes vintage electronica with its Moroder-esque arpeggiated bass. Closing the album is "Tortuga," an atmospheric grower that teases a climax that never really blooms. A suitable ending for an album that always thinks a few moves ahead. (Graded)