MIND DYNAMICS, “Active Supply”
(Digitalis Recordings)

“Mind Dynamics hail from Brooklyn and breathe new life into the furthest reaches of dance music’s outer realm,” says Tulsa’s Digitalis, who released the duo’s followup to their acclaimed debut on 1080p. Let’s get real for a second: you could replace “Mind Dynamics” with any other “dark techno” act, and still believe that the resulting tape came from any of those sources. Active Supply has potential, and indeed there are a few shining moments, but overall this NY duo get lost in the murk and the blown out beats, rendering their sound indistinguishable from the growing crop of underground, raw electronic acts.

The opening tracks “Muscle Maker” and “Audi Sweat” get started on the right track, with muscular beats ascending from the blasted, noise-drenched murk that opens each tune (especially on the latter). Too soon, however, the tracks just stay put, neither building to a devilish dance frenzy nor sustaining their feverish energy. Instead, each just sort of maintains the previously built rhythm and putters out, making way for the pattern to be repeated again and again over the tape’s eight tracks. The one bright spot is “Fractal Tanning,” which does indeed maintain a steady, if somewhat frenetic, energy that never lets up and shows just what this duo is capable of. After an initial bombed out drum and bass rhythm comes a relatively subdued, albeit menacing beat that maintains the rush of energy and a general “what the fuck” sensibility that far too often is absent on this tape. Unfortunately that vibe is only fully heard on one track. Others, such as “Smart Coupons,” introduce a gut punch of a beat, only to have the momentum fade away amidst anemic atmospherics and a general aimlessness.

With the current trendiness of electronic music, an already overcrowded playing field keeps getting more and more acts churning out variations on the same sound, with increasingly diminished returns. Has it already come to the point where the D.I.Y./underground techno bubble has burst? With Active Supply, along with a handful of other underwhelming 2014 releases (Ital, Lone, Actress), I’m starting to think so. With that being said, Active Supply got a heap of press upon its release, and other sites are raining accolades on the duo and like-minded acts, which indicates a level of popularity for this brand of techno not seen in a while. But for this listener, I can’t look past the homogenous sound on display here and do anything but shrug my shoulders. Active Supply is a fine if unremarkable release.


- - Jason Cabaniss