...offering olive branches to the most regimented of overdrives
'Obsidian'

Made to give arenas a complex about whether they're big enough to handle the sensory Benjamin Damage techno experience, 'Obsidian' offers bullet train beats, then restores buckled limbs by dipping into a surround sound stratosphere...or 'Heliosphere', with Benjamin O'Shea carrying over the past unequivocal nature of his debut and offering olive branches to the most regimented of overdrives.

Sunken clubbing looks upwards to the stars, and heavy horsepower is handled with a veneer of manoeuvrability. 'Monolith' is one such barometer of deep techno peaks and troughs, and allows Damage to pack 'em in like sardines while giving elbow sharpeners gorging on 'Transmission' all the space in the world. Entering such wondrous, lustrous spaces leads to set-pieces where synth architecture is upped and BPMs are reclassified. Much like Damage did with partner Doc Daneeka on 'They! Live', it's also a designated plot twist for another easily imaginable live performance. Breakbeat throb 'Shimmer' reaches for the light-specs, 'Vostok 6' explicitly voyages through the cosmos, and 'Poly' hits the dimmer to rebuild the spectacle for punters to pray to.

The continuity from the aforementioned albums means 'Obsidian' is not flat out heaviness for heads-down agitators, and not quite light and fairy enough for seekers of the spiritual. It isn't a brave new world for either techno or the conductor himself. But its slight occupation between stools is one that soars rather than crash-lands, and Damage extends his forte around techno's circumference by giving ears what for before offering an antidote of synaesthesia. Plus, as O'Shea was the first signing to 50Weapons, it's also a proper send-off for a label setting off into the sunset.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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