San Francisco techno stalwart Max Gardner has inaugurated his and Cory Simpson’s Peer record label with a five-track EP. The concepts comprising This is a Test [PEER001] range from cold and contemplative to bold and incendiary, hinting at what’s to come from the fledgling imprint.
“Clamor” kicks off the EP with hypnotic lead synths and eerie atmospheres that contrast curiously with its title. Sound layers enter and leave unpredictably, but with a structure on which one can’t seem to put their finger.
Elastic sonics and cavernous kick drums usher in “For Realness” next. Expertly placed hi-hats frame a dubby, vaguely Detroit-reminiscent melody that builds to a fever pitch before a sample of the track’s namesake takes center stage in the arrangement. Also included in the EP is a remix of “For Realness” by Insolate whose upbeat rhythms adapt the source material for a peak-time DJ set.
At the crucible of the effort is the title track, a single in which psychedelic sonics create a seldom-heard tension and release dynamic. Clever stereo panning makes for sounds that bubble up and emerge in a roiling cycle of death and rebirth. Reimagining the source material is none other than Los Angeles techno figurehead Drumcell, whose rendition differentiates itself with driving percussion and corrosive textures.
This is a Test makes a firm statement on Peer’s position in the world of techno moving forward. Building their endeavors upon a philosophy of artistic integrity, Gardner, Simpson and company bring credibility that affords their fledgling label early recognition.