Known for dramatic dance tunes that previously found their way onto labels such as Innervisions, Last Night On Earth or global event brand / record imprint Just This, Italian duo HUNTER/GAME has evolved its sound into a uniquely expressive, yet subtly arranged variant of techno - music that confidently takes centre stage, but never puts the sonic means before its aesthetic goal. Honing a satisfying punch and mesmerizing melodies, the two producers based out of Milan and New York have already turned in two installments for our Speicher dance couture series, with "Hexagon" (Kompakt Extra 83) reaching the coveted 31 chart of Resident Advisor's monthly DJ Top 50 - all the while prepping an equally thrilling live set that feeds off a deep, hand-cranked groove in collusion with ebullient licks and percussive fervor.
Emmanuele Nicosia and Martino Bertola's album debut ADAPTATION bundles the most accomplished facets of their output so far, but also refines it - produced during the hot Milanese summer, the pair decided to retreat to a chalet in the Dolomite Alps, near a ski resort closed for the season, where they'd find just the right dose of inspiration in the deserted landscape. "That is basically where the Hunter/Game monicker is coming from", they explain, "walking alone through the silent nights, in the darkness of the mountains. It just has this profound impact on you, seeing a place that you only know bustling with human activity uncovered and naked, realizing to what extent human presence has somehow contaminated that piece of nature." It's a place "where you go for a walk and can still find fossils, and this precisely where we came up with the concept for 'Adaptation'".
Contemplating biological evolution and the development of contemporary society side by side, the album's track titles and sonic details refer to "the adaptation of the human being to the modern metropolis as well as the adaptation of music to a collective technological era that has become the manifesto of our generation,". While that might seem like a particularly broad and abstract scope for a techno album, it evidently informs its flow, from the gauzy INTRO (WALKING UNOBSERVED) and the slowly unfurling, string-laden DECLINO to the sweeping title track, the brooding banger ORIGINS or the lyrical, tribalistic SILVER. Morphing ideas, melodies and textures with consummate ease, HUNTER/GAME constantly find missing links between sounds, switching from foreboding melancholy to glorious serenity in a heartbeat - while keeping the arrangements clearly outlined and impactful.
With a background in painting, sculpture, architecture and a distinct interest in abstract expressionism, both Emmanuele and Martino are well-equipped to deal with complex concepts in an immediately comprehensible manner - as can be seen in the cover artwork for their own imprint Just This or for their album debut at hand: inspired by Moebius and M.C. Escher, and produced in conjunction with long-standing creative partner Artiva graphic design studio, these deceptively simple forms aim to expand their two-dimensionality into a third dimension by pure imagination - "just like the music", as the artists like to add. It is said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and indeed nothing could be more applicable to ADAPTATION, where the duo presents a full-length exploration of a distinct sound cosmos, at once coy and bold, and with each cut focussing on yet another artfully executed twist supplementing the no-fuss, all-impact setting of beats, bass and synths.