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Stephen Mallinder tick tick tick

Fans of Cabaret Voltaire will rejoice in co-founder Stephen Mallinder’s second solo outing for the avant garde Dais label, which retains much of his signature sound.


Released: 15 July 2022
tick tick tick

From the opening few seconds of ‘Contact’, you know you’re going to be in for a treat. The urgent motorik beat and bassline of 1970s German music, alongside Mallinder’s sporadic delivery, is a great primer for what is without doubt a vintage release for the veteran producer. He may no longer reside in Sheffield, but the essence of the sound he and Richard H Kirk created in the 1970s is apparent.

It’s cleaner and more polished of course, but still has that rawness, and the title tick tick tick brings to mind the Cabs classic ‘Nag, Nag, Nag’. ‘ringdropp’ retains the deviation Mallinder and Kirk took in the late eighties, when underground bass-driven American house music became an alluring part of their productions. There’s a pep in the step of ‘Galaxy’, which plays out in a dancefloor friendly vein before slipping into a more laid-back techno-infused groove with ‘Wasteland’.

Throughout there are elements of wonkiness that you expect from a Mallinder production. These are most notable on the discordant chords and vocals of ‘Hush’, which are as Mallinder as you can get. This is one of the album’s stand-out moments. More stuttering vocal samples and jacking grooves come together for ‘The Trial’, resulting in an edgy track that most artists with over 40 years of electronic musicianship wouldn’t dare try – but Mallinder pulls it off magnificently. The title track is a calm finale to an album where classic sample techniques lie below an almost spoken word delivery, adding yet another great record to a very large pile of great records.