t’s taken three albums of material, but SND has finally carved out a niche of their own and delivered a masterful work. The previous two albums recombined the advances of Pole and Oval into a click and dub framework that pegged them as copiers of established genres. Instead, on Tender Love, the group stakes its claim as an innovator itself- merging hip hop, glitch, and dub in a fascinating amalgam that gives each genre breathing room to create its own distinct niche.
The sounds used in the creation of this record are unmistakably glitch influenced: clipped synthesized drum hits, seemingly out of place melodic stabs of melody, and interrupted harmonic elements. All though these elements frequently make up glitch records by artists such as Oval, the elements are clearly ordered into highly constructed rhythmic and melodic frameworks. In this way, the record represents a close connection with a hip-hop producer’s meticulous construction of a track within the studio. Each component placed in such a way for maximum effect and memorability. The drum patterns used on each song, as well, usually have a hip-hop underpinning to them allowing the listener to bounce to the beat, if not outright dance.
The aquatic dub of Pole and company is not missed here, either, although it is in a much more limited format than previous outings for the group. Instead of this reliance on clearly defined genre boundaries of German experimental techno of the past decade or so, SND uses dub elements as a bass garnishing on some of the tracks, but never overuses the elements- allowing a breathing room between this and the two previous albums.
And this is the main difference in style here. SND have chosen to focus very highly on moving the body on this release, as opposed to the mind. The middle of the record trades in the hard-hitting beats of the edges of the album for an increase in atmospherics, but it is a muted one that points more toward the future of their work than the past. More often than not, it amounts to respite from the more stringently rhythmic tracks.
Instead of retreading other artists’ material, SND have turned in an interesting and original piece of work on Tender Love. It’s as though they’ve been to the clubs, taken the house anthems that resided there and dissected them down to their barest elements and refashioned them in an IDM atmosphere. Along with this change from head to floor, the group has lost any signifiers to other artists in this journey. By taking apart elements of hip hop, house, dub, and glitch the group has exposed an entirely new genre rife with possibilities. It’s perhaps the beginning of a new genre that may have people copying SND’s style, instead of the other way around. With apologizes to Matmos, this group is the best surgeon in the IDM world right now and I’m excited to see who they operate on next.