Swingin' Techno

Jul 21, 1999 at 12:00 am

Newcomer Jason Hogans is an anomaly among Detroit producers, an auteur capable of reminding us what Detroit techno was all about in the first place (exploration) while also reminding us of the limitations of a music that is more programmed than played. On this EP, Hogans blends echoing, rounded synth tones over jazzy, inventive beats that, like bebop, play with time signatures and don’t always seem sure where they’ll wind up. The opener, "Warmfuzzy," gets into that glowing netherworld funk of William Orbit’s Strange Cargo records, with its stepladder beats and reassuring melodic glints. But elsewhere on this EP, Hogans has more trouble telling the difference between a statement and a run-on sentence. The irony of "The Irony of False Freedom" is that what starts out as an exercise in creative drum programming loses sight of the fact that rhythm patterns aren’t always an end in themselves, no matter how long they plod on. Credit Hogans for not getting too off into self-important sound track territory, though, and concentrating on the low-end, even if sometimes it is at the expense of any high-end narrative.

A promising, if uneven, debut.