Bob Brown - Primary:Red
Unique, slamming hardware beat tracks
Bob Brown is a US underground techno producer who started his own label, Framework Music, after several years as a Philadelphia DJ in the mid-90s. He kicked off the label with gusto in 1999, pressing three EPs showcasing his unique brand of hardware beat wizardry, color coded Yellow, Red, and Blue.
I first stumbled across Bob's work as I do most records, attempting to pad out a Discogs order a few years back. When I first heard a sample of Primary:Yellow (via the exact YouTube vid below), I knew I'd found something special.
The track, (Yellow 4) was bizarre in all my favorite ways. The intricate, twitchy rhythms, blasted recording spec, and unique sound palette had me hooked immediately. I quickly snatched up the rest of the "Primary" series from the same seller and smashed the "buy" button right then and there.
In 2018, as I was preparing to launch Grippers' Tips, I discovered, much to my joy, that Bob had taken it upon himself to create a Bandcamp page, uploading most of his own material from the Framework days. That kind of DIY archival spirit is a huge part of what inspired me to get back to blogging about music in a post-mediafire world, and I was thrilled I could share Bob's back catalog in a way that involved him directly.
Which brings me to the subject of this post, the first Framework release (and my favorite), Primary:Red. The EP's sound and energy bring to mind some of the woolier releases from dirt-techno instigators like Jamal Moss or any number of LIES-affiliated jammers, but with an alien production spec that sets them apart. The four tracks are all mid-tempo techno jams, with hard knockin' kicks, punchy DrumTraks percussion, and Bob's signature blown-out, straight-to-the-DAT atmospheres. Each cut has its own internal logic, but they all coalesce into robotically twitching monsters of raw nervous energy. There's plenty of classic four-on-the-floor kick / hat business, but contaminated with arrhythmic growls, whirlwind cymbal-work, and vintage wild-pitch techno zaps. The last track goes rogue, with a lurching, syncopated percussion loop that gets slowly deep fried into oblivion for an apocalyptic closer. Crunchy!
Discogs copies of the original wax are still floating around for the collectors, but do the right thing and cop Bob's weird and wonderful back catalog here.