Published May 01, 2019The culmination of a resurgent burst of energy after some time away from the scene, Edge of Everything, the debut full-length from respected British producer Paula Temple, solidifies her status as a guiding force of contemporary techno.
Although known for her multi-layered, highly individualized DJ sets and remix work (as well as founding the Noise Manifesto label and co-developing the MXF8 MIDI controller), she's released only a few EPs since her arrival in the early 2000s, so it's pleasing to report that her talents strongly carry over to a long form context.
A relentlessly menacing slab of darkly majestic techno, Edge of Everything eschews the post-apocalyptic, urban soundscapes that shroud a lot of heavier work today, dipping instead into what one might call a more classic set of metallic, industrial sounds, but not just in the obvious, percussive sense (although there is some of this).
Instead, Temple accesses these ideas in subtler, more atmospheric ways, creating a nightmare of groaning steel and pneumatic wheezing that haunts the album's background. Melodies often present in blaring, brassy tones as well, fitting the sound design perfectly, and adding symphonic flair. "Futures Betrayed" is a prime example of this, its piston-like rhythm driving a dissonant, otherworldly melody that sounds like some kind of infernal horn section keeping the pace.
"Raging Earth" is the album's other key track, a nine-minute excoriation that has to be one of the more frightening environmental call-outs in recent memory — it's not easy to communicate a track title's theme via tone and instrumentation alone, but Temple nails it here, with deep, rumbling synths belching forth like spiteful emissions from a ruined core; the enormous sense of scale on this and other tracks is almost sublime.
It isn't the only track on Edge of Everything with political undertones either, and press material makes clear it's meant as an explicit response to and rejection of the current political climate. There is certainly an urgency here; a difficult album to ignore. (Noise Manifesto)