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REVIEW: NotioN - The Renege

REVIEW: NotioN – The Renege
Jack Smith

With no readily available PR or overhyped media plugging, Essex-based duo NotioN and their Clear Conceptions imprint remain something of an enigma, displaying an undiluted concentration to their ever-expanding and permanently intriguing body of work. Previous releases on CX Digital and Nu Directions suggest that the duo’s sound leans towards the dark industrial-minimal championed by the likes of Loxy & Resound and Clarity, yet the Renege EP on their own Clear Conceptions imprint, however, successfully removes any fore-drawn typecast with a presentation of warm melodies, fine-tuned arrangement and vocal narrative with an eerie presence reminiscent of an early SpectraSoul; a seemingly effortless and self-enveloping piece.

Beginning on a downbeat note, I Walk A Lonely Path retains its contemplative mood through a continuous oriental flute sample, twinkling pipe-chimes and layered vocals over a stuttering drum arrangement, before moving into the title track’s beautifully constructed piano chord-laden two-step.

Accompanied by stirring, lurking strings, warm pads and another superb vocal progression, Renege is a fantastic display of the duo’s focus on production values and replayability.

Sullen continues the EP’s foreboding tone, marrying flickering bleeps and a monarchical synth wave that sits atop the track’s confident structure, with an undercurrent of mid swipes that flirts with the duo’s aforementioned CX edginess; an intriguing no-mans-land for the production team’s all-encompassing sound.

Jazz Dots steps forward from the EP’s overall menace as a piece of rolling bliss of SGN:LTD / Fokuz birth: a flourish of keys, rebounding bassline and untranslatable vocal snippets held together by a classically-structured rolling break and ticking snares, an unexpected yet supremely crafted crescendo.

As a lyrical sequence the Renege EP represents the effeminate, fraternal follow-up to the duo’s Summer 2011 Clarion EP, a clear divergence from the latter’s tearing dancefloor-orientated danger. Structurally and thematically contained, the piece represents a focused confidence in versatility whose careful balance nods towards keen-eared sample culture, classical arrangement and the subtleties of modern minimal. Made all the more enticing by the duo’s steadfast, unassuming persistence in pushing Clear Conceptions, this is one embracing release not to be slept on.

The Renege EP is out now via Juno Download.


Review Overview