Tim Grey, Portlandâ€™s purveyor of minimally invasive techno, returns with Opus 2, a haunted batch of textured tones, hushed beats and fluid action. 144 Pulsations of Light, Greyâ€™s 2009 outing as Ethernet, permeated a cold and distant demeanor that brought an anonymous and self-contained take to the dub techno scene. While that LP suggested the frigid meanderings of floating through space, or maybe a black-and-white dream sequence, Opus 2 seems to find Grey thawing out, widening his vistas and touching on unforeseen genres and spaces.
Grey immediately plunges you into those warm auras with opening track “Monarch,” a woefully nostalgic synth-portrait using a palette of Warp- and Pan-American-affected throb. A sense of massive revolving inherently sets off and all things are in a slow yet powerful motion. The plunking, bobbing melody immediately recalls Steve Haushildt’s Sequitur (also in Kranky) with a giddy curiosity and playful take on synth patterns and portraits.
On tracks like “Correction” and “Dog Star,” Grey veers eerily close to Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas-eous blueprints for ambient techno. The steady beat underlines cavernous spacious of ice and light, resulting in propulsive meditations on texture and sound. Beats and rhythm come and go as they please, sometimes picking up midway through a track or enduring the spaces between cuts, perpetuatingÂ a post Bowery Electric drift of tectonic humming and resonance. Opus 2 will almost certainly be one of those under-appreciated listens that falls between the cracks of ambient and techno. Do yourself a favor and let it sink in.