12 O'Clock Track: Ital Tek, "Dusk Beat"

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'Tis the season for music critics to start putting serious thought into compiling their Best Of lists, which on one hand a lot of critics (and readers) find a pointless and irritating exercise. On the other hand it does allow one to measure how well certain records have held up in an environment where an act can be hyped up and then almost completely forgotten in a span of weeks. I came to British postdubstep producer Alan "Ital Tek" Myson's Nebula Dance LP rather late in the year, but going back to it already has a tinge of nostalgia to it. I've listened to the album inside and out over the course of my time with it, and it's held up remarkably well. Myson plays around with a number of different styles over its course, but his experiments in footwork, like the standout track "Dusk Beat," are maybe the most interesting. Unlike other producers from outside of the form's native Chicago scene, he doesn't try to exactly replicate the original stuff's dark, claustrophobic minimalism or to simply graft its trademark rhythms onto some random-seeming EDM parts. His take on it replaces the usual twitchy paranoia with an airy vibe that reminds me of Aphex Twin's take on drum 'n' bass back during its heyday—it's a clever approach that results in a distinctively odd rendition of the style, and it's unexpectedly some of the most interesting footwork to come out in 2012.

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