Yet, weirdly, in spite of being recorded at such sludgy tempos (barely topping 110bpm) and in spite of being so outwardly in thrall to notions of rot and decay, both these albums have an unlikely vitality. They excite. I can't for the life of me work out what the precise nature of the spell is, but there is some sort of mad voodoo at work. The tempo certainly has a lot to do with it; when the monstrous kick drum starts to churn through the distorted house vocal on 'New Ground' the feeling is of something ritualistic and primal, and that is a side of electronic dance that might not immediately come to mind when we think of the clean pulsing vectors linking Kraftwerk's famous 'Man Machine' music to stuff like minimal techno and trance (although it has a clear precursor in Basic Channel). I also think of comparisons outside of techno, like doom and stoner metal. Bands like Sleep and Bong use huge riffs and staggered tempos to evoke that almost sacred notion of 'heaviness', music with so much mass and gravity that it is like a force of nature.
There's a very interesting and unconventional Donato Dozzy mix on the mnml ssgs blog that explores some ideas that I think are analogous to what Andy Stott does on both these remarkable albums.
MP3: Andy Stott-New Ground