Resident Advisor review: 4E - The Gentle Killer (IMS032)
Few artists convincingly swerve between acid, abstract dub and quirky minimal techno. Under aliases such as 4E, Khan, Bizz O.D. and Gizz TV, Can Oral spent most of the '90s doing just that. For someone who released such a huge quantity of music, his strike rate is remarkably high. His sound has also influenced today's nebulous post-minimal scene. With straight drums, an oddball sensibility and acid lines that don't scream "acid," it's a combination that has also been heard on more recent releases. Chunks of his catalogue have become prohibitively expensive, but was/is has stepped in by reissuing The Gentle Killer, originally out on Sockett in 1996.
"Gentle Killer" sounds like it could have been released on Binh's Time Passages label last week. The drums are crunchy and the programming is robotic, but the groove is supple and inviting. This combination is one of Oral's defining traits as a producer, and the bassline is typically mint. "Mind Frame" is also classic 4E. The drums are crusty and the syncopated patterns bring it into line with the broken grooves of the superb Blue Note LP, while resonant squelches provide dripping textures that contrast nicely with the bone-dry percussion. "Next (Who's Dead?)" shows Oral's humorous side, placing what sounds like a disgruntled fast food employee groaning "Next!" atop a brittle electro beat. Like much of his work, it doesn't slam so much as creep and scurry, and the extended length makes it a treat for DJs who like weaving syncopated tracks between straighter tunes.
A1 Gentle Killer
A2 Next (Who's Dead?)
B1 Mind Frame
B2 Warm Leatherette