Restating biographic notes and career achievements is not for macho reviewers; then again, how many roads must a man walk down before ceasing to quote Ora and Nurse With Wound? So, without wasting words, all the ignorant needs to do to get acquainted with some of Colin Potter’s finest work is going straight to ICR Distribution’s Bandcamp page and get a few records, the Monos duo (with Darren Tate) in particular.
Over the decades, Potter has touched on a good number of sonic environments. His sound has always retained a distinct analogue trait; rich drones, abstract figurations and potent pulses have been mixed with savoir faire, technical expertise and – when necessary – a touch of dry humor. By listening to Rank Sonata, one can perceive a little bit of everything in this sense, with the addition of a “softly mechanical” kind of repetition that situates selected chunks of this album in the realm of an organic techno-minimalism made with few compositional means, yet generating an enlivening outcome. It’s the sort of sleeper which, on a first listen, appears like an “OK, nice” moment but already at the second spin reveals harmonically enhanced auras, micro-rhythms inside the basic rhythms, concrete noise action and, generally speaking, several reminders of the difference between a mere dabbler and a skilled engineer.
Tracks to remember are the 17-minute trip “A Wider Pail Of Shale” (great title, and equally fine alternance of droning materials and chopping one-note vamps) and “Beyond The Pail”, beginning with an accelerating tape (early Kraftwerk style: “Kling Klang”, anyone?) then flowing into a spectacular groove for a rave populated by drunk mice and DJ’d by the ghost of Bryn Jones. But the whole item is brilliantly realized: intelligent music to keep your legs alive and your head nodding, with the right quantity of inauspicious resonances for the most exigent.