Creative producer alert. A culmination of varied influences from post-punk to ambient and shoegaze in his alter ego projects such as Sex Worker, Mi Ami and disbanded post-hardcore band Black Eyes, Daniel Martin-McCormick's debut on Planet Mu as Ital is called Hive Mind and brings together the best of his worlds.
Also known for his housier output on the 100% Silk label (Not Not Fun's sub-label) including Culture Clubs as well as Theme, Ital is perfectly competent at bringing to the table the stuff you would expect, but excels by exceeding such expectations with his well-honed individuality and unabashed style.
Hive Mind as a short five tracker is compact; yet every track is tightly produced and fully realised to fruition without ever seeming like it is trying to hard. Every single could have easily led a solid EP but together as an album, becomes a real satisfying treat for music lovers.
The album is not quite dark as it is spacious in nature. Exploring the outer fringes of the straight canon of house, Hive Mind is an expansionary experience for listeners, allowing one's mind to consider and contemplate sounds not typically associated with the genre, and thus, open one up to new possibilities. It is this characteristic alone that can lead one to classify something as art over expression.
Ital said in an interview with FACT, "With the exception of 'Privacy Settings,' I wasn't particularly thinking about it being dark or not. I was really curious to get into time stretching and having stuff push against the beat or get in/out of time, etc. I was also in a rough spot personally, so maybe some of that is reflected."
The album demands your attention immediately with the opener Doesn't Matter If You Love Him, featuring chopped up vocals including Lady Gaga, a hypnotic groove and eastern percussion. The Whitney Houston sample takes you by surprise, mildly offends, before winning you over like putty in hands. From then on, the album has you firmly in its grip.
Samples feature prominently, but are used in such a way that nobody except the most righteous would really mind. As Pablo Picasso once allegedly said: "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." And in the self-conscious case of Ital, it is surely the latter.
In the same interview he shares of his method, "So basically I’m making the tracks with a combo of recording shit off YouTube, making some loops, and whatever I’ve got – I’ll lay it all out. I’ll record some stuff live over it, or cut bits out of stuff I already recorded live. Then I’ll just get in Audacity and chip away at it.”
Floridian Void and the previously mentioned atmospheric Privacy Settings ride on the momentum started by the first track before arriving at the glory that is Israel, my personal favourite of this album. At over ten minutes in length, the stomper track is long but never indulgent. The build up is slow as it is delicious, featuring superb samples that sound like enviable household recordings. The overall effect is almost discordant but never jarring, and at some points very groovy before a wave of synths sitting pretty wash you over. A beauty that is worth its full length, it should devastate some very special dance floors around the world.
The last loop-based track, First Wave, is the most conventional of the album but by contemporary standards, still strictly belongs in the creative category. Remnants of disco later get stripped down into its dubby skeleton before rising up again with well-timed FX to end the album experience on a higher, cosmic note.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome this new talent to the frontline.