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Sensate Focus Sensate FocusSensate Focus 5

8.3 / 10

The numbering of the Sensate Focus series is a bit odd - the first volume is 10, the second is 5, so if there’s a third one, it’ll likely be number 0, or not - but the music is some of the most accessible and exultant that Mark Fell has ever produced. Having gotten over the (short) phase in which Sensate Focus was an anonymous project, however much the Snd member’s way of doing things showed through in every groove of the vinyl, now we can talk about the “dance” division of Editions Mego. It’s the next logical step for the English producer, expanding the danceable turns that one sensed fleetingly in many of the cuts on albums like “Stdio”, “Tenderlove” and the split with NHK, or the cuts released under his name on Raster-Noton - closing the circle with pieces that work on the dance floor, not through headphones and in a horizontal position. These two pieces, once again, set up a house discourse that sounds more liberated, more expanded, striking the ideal balance between the avant-garde and confusion.

Sensate Focus 5” doesn’t offer major changes from “Sensate Focus 10”: they are both generously long pieces - and this time there is no artificial division on the record to make four pieces where there were really only a couple - with Mark Fell’s glitches and luminous passages perfectly slotted into a rhythmic framework with plenty of filtering and refinement. Both the X side and the Y side reach that funky movement that holds its own, with an internal rhythm that doesn’t break out into euphoria; at the same time as it presents a will to explore, it doesn’t collapse into a useless look at its own navel. The first 12” was surprising in its newness; this second is convincing because it’s good - because starting from the same idea, the result is better. One has to suppose that Mark Fell has learned to assimilate the language of deep house better thanks to Sensate Focus, but also through work with Terre Thaemlitz / DJ Sprinkles on “The Complete Spiral EP”, another deep glitch-house exercise with long pieces. The latter should no longer be seen as a coincidence or a whim, but rather as a new chapter (and one of the most interesting ones), in an exemplary career spent pumping black gold out through his computer screen. Another small step for man, but a giant step for house Cubism.

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