August 30, 2009

Dub Tractor - Delay (2000, FX Records)

Dub Tractor, the IDM project of Anders Remmer, is another long-time favorite of mine that I first heard about on the IDM mailing list in the late '90s. While there were a pair of albums and several 12"s released in Europe between '94 and '99, it wasn't until the '00 CD release of "Delay" that I was able to find any of his stuff in US shops. The album has a very smooth and chilled out downtempo/IDM feel, with glitchy beat programming and quirky sound design, blended with a strong dub influence. There is a heavy element of sub-bass, spring reverbs and tape echoes applied to the downtempo beats, as laid-back synthesizers breathe soft chords over the mix. While dub aesthetics and sound effects play a major role in Dub Tractor's sound, it rarely crosses over into reggae territory, besides on the very Pole-sounding "Drive". Instead "Delay" has more in common with the sound of early '90s Warp-style IDM ala The Black Dog or other "Artificial Intelligence" artists, with an updated instrumentation and lush analog-sounding dub FX. Following "Delay", Dub Tractor was picked up by City Centre Offices, home of Arovane and other soft-spoken melodic IDM producers. The excellent '01 split 12" with Opiate presented four more tracks in the same vein as "Delay", while the next full-length "More Or Less Mono", featured lush and glitchier production as well as some soft, fuzzed-out vocals and very pleasant guitar processing. Dub Tractor's most recent release was "Hideout" in '06, which I haven't heard, and City Centre Offices will be releasing a new full-length CD this November. The catchy melodies and low-key rhythms of "Delay" still get stuck in my head, nine years later.