Spectral Frequency’s title-track is a distillation of the things listeners have come to love about the Special Request project. The track begins with mutant techno, spacey jungle breaks which are warped into all kinds of beguiling shapes at the hands of project mastermind Paul Woolford. However, with barely any warning ‘Spectral Frequency’ drops mightily at around ninety seconds in – the sub-booms that enter here are strong enough to knock you off your feet. It is both thrilling and incredibly assertive, Woolford repeats the trick twice more across the track while also adding some space-age synth bleeps in the final stretch. ‘Spectral Frequency’ is hardcore revivalism done right. Sister-number ‘Inverse Frequency’ follows, and this is a tune which very much does what it says on the tin – it’s effectively the oblique of ‘Spectral Frequency’, with Woolford forgoing beat drops and instead doubling-down on those more industrial drum loops and jaw clenching builds.
The vibe is distinctly different on Spectral Frequency’s B-side, described by Woolford as an equal split of “Face-Melters and Heart Breakers”. There is little in the way of junglism to either ‘Family Doggo’ or ‘No Other Way To Say It’ – rather, these tracks are stargazing pieces of timeless Detroit electro. Both are comparatively gentle club cuts, though there is something rather awe-inspiring about the widescreen synth pads of the latter track. Recent analogous work can be found in Derek Carr’s Contact LP and the more wistful end of Space Dimension Controller’s releases as well as the present influence of Aphex Twin’s unparalleled Selected Ambient Works.
Paul Woolford manages to unite the breakbeat forces of jungle and Detroit electro – and even throw a bone to the hard nosed industrial heads – on new Special Request EP Spectral Frequency.