Paul Blackford ‎– The League Of Shadows

4 out of 5

Label: Central Processing Unit

Produced by: Paul Blackford (?)

Intense but fun. Paul Blackford – as with almost the entirety of the artists on the CPU roster – has his own flavor of techno, generally with a light hip-hop beat backing. ‘The League of Shadows’ is on the dark side of that, its A-side title track taking some Bane-speak from The Dark Knight Rises and rendering it rather more effective than the film did, looping it, distorted, over a dank beat and, when the track fully breaks out, a clipped, fast-paced rush. This morphs the track into a hands up bit o’ funk, which carries over on to the B-side – and if not ‘Shadows” extended 6-minute runtime reusing the same sample and beats a bit too often, it’s an awesome lead-in.

Proteus kicks off B with a bit of 90s ambience – chilled, soothing, sliding into a smooth beat, which picks up the pace to match the A-side’s rush, mapped to a more mellifluous, ever-changing synth line. Some stutter steps in the mix along the way keep it especially fresh and grooving. This fades out… And the awesome Robotix kicks in with its fittingly harsh, metallic, tick-tock beat, ushering in some twinkly atmospherics up until about the minute mark, when the thing just explodes with intensity and swagger.

Paul circles around a few different moods across Shadows’ three tracks, but they’re all linked by their sense of groove and a head-bobbing, adrenalized beat. Pretty killer stuff.