Montreal's North of Nowhere records has been quietly putting out pitch-black, cavernous techno for a few years now. Little-known EPs from Forage and Vincent Svenson burrowed down the tunnel of techno and experimental, but often veered towards more danceable fare; Stereo_IMG (aka Patrick Haggart), another Montreal-based producer, fits right into the label's aesthetic.
What sets Haggart apart from his labelmates, however, is his penchant for crafting imagery. Haggart has a wealth of education in cinematic sound design and music engineering, so it's no surprise that the four tracks on this EP come packaged with their own narrative. Opener "Coarse" has that unique quality of pushing you away and drawing you in at the same time with its relentless pulse and suck, but it also happens to sound like a giant supercomputer incessantly churning out rows of robots, ready to wipe the planet clean. Then there's "Distended," the rapid-fire percussion of which comes off like a well-trained marching band heading straight for your house. "Distended Remix" has much the same effect, only this time, the marching band has been shaved down to a couple of drummers. Yet, they're no less ominous than the group proper.
Techno can be callous even on a good day, and when it's dovetailed with industrial or ambient, you're looking at a pretty grim affair. Yet, even though Textures undoubtedly falls in the "dark ambient techno" category, it's far more inviting than those three words would suggest. (North of Nowhere)