By Kone-R

It's rare to hear an album of any genre which exudes perfection, but on Escapism Boris Bunnik (aka Conforce) possibly comes as close as any released this year. It's characteristic of his music — warm but frozen, focussed yet smudged — that it's almost impossible to put your finger on exactly what it is that makes this album so outstanding. Certainly the attention to detail is undeniable. Every sound seems to have been polished to a shimmering gleam, right down to the smallest hi-hat, and the sheer space he's allowed in the mix gives the whole work a living, breathing quality — you almost expect it to slip from your grasp each time you think you've got a handle on it.

From the opening snare hit of Revolt Dx we're in the realm of extremely crisp sound. Put aside notions of extreme sidechain compression and punchy bass drops however — Conforce's game is subtlety and dynamics, something which much modern dance music seems to have forgotten. Whilst I'm certain every one of these tracks would sound weighty on a good rig, the emotions that the record instils are not exactly the sort to make most people shake their tailfeather, at least not until about half way through, when Shadows Of The Invisible injects a little raw energy. For the most part the melodic elements are glacial, hypnotic — the archetypal 5am zone-out vibe. And that's a large part of the attraction — it's rare for a good techno album to be quite so consistently listenable, no matter the circumstances. Escapism is truly immersive, and well named in this regard; pick any track and the coldest regions of outer space seem within reach after just a few seconds (check Aquinas Control, and be sure to marvel at the resonating sub-bass of the cosmos whilst you're there).

Escapism has a womb-like quality, enveloping the listener with warmth and supplying nutrients directly to the brain. Despite weighing in at an hour in length, it all seems to be over far too soon. Album closer Diversion brings us back to the roots of this music, however, wearing it's Chicago influence proudly — think Steven Tang and Tevo Howard jamming with their boxes in broad sunshine.

Escapism is an album of the purest textures — a point reinforced by the visually arresting design of the cover (again, Bunnik's own work). His debut album Machine Conspiracy (for Meanwhile) was assured, but this follow-up takes Conforce to the next level. It's going to be fascinating to hear where his journey will take us next.
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