Score:
8Overall Score

Dublin’s Gareth Smyth is not one of the scene’s most prolific producers. As Lumigraph he’s put out three solo releases over four years along with a scattering of split EPs and compilation tracks. His tracks are rough, warped excursions in the 4/4 mould, and while his sound hasn’t changed dramatically since those first outings, the maturity and subtlety of his compositions has evolved impressively.

His first record in two years comes on Dublin’s Major Problems, a label who hosted a Lumigraph remix on their first 12”. Now ten releases deep they host the first tracks that Smyth finished on his new all-hardware setup. These four cuts are tough and grainy but never too serious, fusing confident synthwork with drums that sound like malfunctioning machinery. They’re some of Lumigraph’s most club-poised tracks to date, but they also show an increased attention to structure in his arrangements – each track finishes in a very different place to where it started.

Power Broker is the lightest on its feet, leading with a tough, skipping rhythm. The tension is gradually raised across the track, its beetling synthline mutating into aqueous stabs alongside an effect that sounds like someone rhythmically sawing wood. It’s an understated but powerful opener, leading into the grittier world of Garbage 4 Garbage. This one starts with an industrial squeal that could lead to pure abstraction but instead gives onto a shuttering groove, with a sleazy riff lending the second half a showstopping edge.

The B-side is darker still, with Spectacular Times unleashing the raw club potential in Smyth’s shattered sounds. Here the kicks are deep and muddy, anchoring rude, grime-referencing melodies and a chaotic flurry of bleeps and wobbles towards the close. Bulletproof Holiday cuts a more abstract shape, its powerful stabs rooted in angular drumwork that only resolves into a clear rhythm several minutes in.

For all the dirt and grit over Smyth’s sounds, these are well-honed tracks that burst with barely-contained energy. They’re full of character, balancing rawness and spontaneity with a keen eye for evolution and surprise. Even if he continues to drip-feed his releases, we’ll stay with him if they’re this good.