Raul Vlădău is heading up the charge on Tessier Ashpool Recording’s Cyber Grime Division, with Perfection as Mutual Friend. The debut EP is at home on what is fast becoming an exclusive outlet for functionalist dance music from the future perspective of electro and bass from Liar and selected friends. It finds Mutual Friend obsessing with the obscure world of AR, bionics, and transhumanism, aptly through the machine music doctrine that lies behind TAR. At the EP’s core we find a pre-occupation with the question of human perfection and the role of the machine in this quest.
Mutual friend approaches Perfection with the purpose of a submissive drone tattoo, lining thee elements up into a single file before they spread out to attack listener on the auditory plane. The rigid, yet errant programming of a percussive rhythm holds the EP together as it marches on through inventive interpretations of club music. The title track presumes it is held in an illusive kick on the opening beat of the bar, while snares hammer away at the rest of the phrase. It might be analogous with the rhythmical inclination of grime, but there is also a healthy focus on futuristic electro coming through on Evolve and Triangulation, the appeal of the EP coming through in the voice of a drum machine. It’s the rhythm of the machine that sets the pulse at the heart of Mutual’s Friend music, ensuring each element stays true to its pre-determined role, the superfluous sonic engagement avoided for the perfect regimental design from the perspective of the dance floor. The rhythmical device predetermines everything, even the odd meandering pad or squelching synthesiser. Everything else shadows the beat, stepping in line with an unpresumptuous propensity, hiding something sinister in its strict parameters.
It’s in the sinister air that clouds every track where the machine music gets its form, and possibly derives from the imperfect control of the human behind the machine. That shadowy meandering presence on Triangulation is responsible for the tension that eventually erupts into the laceration of the twisting gears as the percussion erupts halfway through. It’s in that magnificent aspect that Perfection contorts into its bionic form, the machine a mere appendage in the continued search for excellence.