Published Jun 18, 2019Canadian producer Tristan Douglas began his career as Margaret Antwood, playing on the name of the popular Canadian novelist. Initially releasing his music on various netlabels, he settled on Mike Paradinas's Planet Mu imprint for his physical output (and trimmed Margaret from his name). He's released two full-length collections for the label so far: Virtuous.scr and Sponsored Content. The former was centred around artificial intelligence, while the latter was a concept album that deals with the subversive nature of advertising.
This new EP, comprised of Douglas's first new material in two years, is a celebration of dance music. It incorporates a diverse array of genre signifiers, with distinct nods to trance, electro and gabber. Yet there is a sense of something larger at play here, as Douglas quests to produce an expansive body of work, a series of towering monuments to dance.
"Pillar of Inversions" is a grower, a slowly building pile of synth melodies and trance arpeggios. Eventually, an almost angelic figure takes shape among the elegiac elements, before the track falls away, replaced by the juicy electro of "Liquid & Digits." This piece is not merely a shrine to classic electro. It is complex and shifty, filled with surprises.
The aptly named "Trance Pillar" is riddled with synth stabs and flute melodies. Dance music tropes bob and weave among each other, but the piece feels distinctly more than the sum of these individual elements. Things get aggressive with "Daniel the Stylite," as the trance synths coalesce into a punchy, bass-heavy rhythm.
Douglas cools things off with the outro, a droning miasma entitled "Elder Theme." This fantasia of flutes, synths and piano feels almost out of place, considering what came before. That being said, if Douglas was aiming to showcase his ambition, this piece certainly accomplishes his goal. It's a nod toward hopefully grander things to come. (Planet Mu)