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Damage EP

Damage EP

Hailing from the unlikely dance music hub of Chesterfield, duo Gaist offer up two slabs of serious heads-down, eyes-closed techno on Damage, their latest EP. The title track starts off deceptively light, until the deep kick drum enters the fray at the one-minute mark. After that, a burst of handclaps signals a shift into darker territory, with a grinding bass throb underpinning the rest of the mix.

There is no colour or light here. This is dance music at its starkest and coldest, stripped back to its essentials. Occasional metallic, reverb-heavy clangs bounce away from the mix like a penny thrown into vast machinery. It's hard work, but it evokes a mood and an atmosphere that is undoubtedly tied to this region, marking it out from thousands of bedroom producers up and down the UK by tapping into a distinctive local sound.

The second side, ‘Drums’, is as minimal as the first, deploying only the bare essentials to create its industrial sound world. If anything, it's even more nuts-and-bolts than the opener, with a heavier kick drum that dominates and, again, the churning bass sound that coats the track with dehumanised dread. Both tracks are very percussive, with distant synths used as sparingly as possible.

For home listeners, a touch more variety in style and texture would be welcome, as both tunes draw from a very similar pool of sounds. But, let’s face it, this is designed predominantly for the club. The cover – a rusting and abandoned factory interior – ensures that you don't miss the point. This is music from the north of England, its steelworks, the din of its manufacturing districts and the cacophony of now-empty shops.