Just when I thought we were done with 2016, the heat pulls me back in! Paleman--presumably a reference to the monster from Pan's Labyrinth, as seen above--has been kicking around since the end of the post-dubstep period with releases for Fulcrum and Swamp 81. Raised in Manchester where he studied jazz at the Chethams School of Music and Trinity College of Music, his background in a genre that often gets mangled when applied to a dance music format is similar to the music studies completed by the likes of Batu, Ploy, and Bruce--whose focus was more on sound design. A trained drummer, his innate sense for rhythm first caught my own ears in 2015 when he released the post-"Velez" electro-inflected booty bouncer "Like O" on Swamp 81's 81 imprint, which has served a similar role as Ytivil Dnuos in providing a platform for a new generation of producers. "Like O" took a page from 80s NYC electro but dressed it in crisp contemporary streetwear in the form of its intricate percussive nuances and an earworm of a vocal sample that recalled the power of tracks like "Sicko Cell" in their ability to shock through familiar utterances rendered wholly alien against a post-genre backdrop.
Released on his own PLMN imprint, PLMN 001 featured two wholly distinct tracks in the post-Livity broken beat oddysey of B cut of "Ice Parade" and the more club-friendly "Talk Louder." Rolling in at a low 120s BPM, the stuttered kick pattern and voice incanting "Everything" introduce a serious atmospheric vibe that makes the second vocal sample of "girls in the front" feel almost hollow. Almost. As the vocals get increasingly chopped up while Paleman goes to town creating a richly textured percussive backdrop of reverbed af cowbells, crisp drumstick clicks, and intricate high-hat and kick interplay. Unlike "Like O," Paleman resists going for the obvious electro thump with a forward drum pattern, instead opting for a far more pensive kick-led beat that forgoes the go-to triplet structure, rather placing the kicks often on the off-beat to create an almost martial sensibility. The whole affair flies by for the first five minutes before the producer introduces a spectral, choral-like pad-concocted melody that never quite settles at the front of the mix, instead gesticulating in the back without ever settling into a fixed pattern. It's the kind of track that achieves far different effects when pitched up eight than when played at its original tempo, moving it from a track that feels like club music made for the at-home listener to a heady banger that while lacking the post-garage momentum of previous bangers "The Day" and "Beezledub," boasts a far more engaging rhythmic and sonic tapestry.