travelog (Special Extended Edition)
travelog was the third EP released by Mat Steel and Mark Fell as SND, arriving in 1999 just before the release of their influential debut album Makesnd Cassette on the Mille Plateaux label. Of the three EP reissues in the series, travelog contains the most developed and satisfying work from the pair, edging their reduced production palette into more fully-realized dimensions, coloring-in those instantly-recognizable bass notes and isolated percussive elements with a slow, sublime trickle of melody. The six extra tracks included are indispensable -- extending the original EP into an hour of mesmerizing, slowly immersive rhythmic pulses that still sound pretty much unlike anything you'll have heard before -- a perfect bridge between house, techno and UKG re-imagined within a stripped structure that should act as a masterclass for a new school of producers trying to balance out rhythmic complexity with space. The opening A1 encapsulates this asymmetry brilliantly, bare swing and shuffle riding chiming chords that add warmth and space to an already intoxicating blueprint, while A3 takes those same elements and sharpens them into a slow, undulating alignment bolstered by that immaculate mastering treatment from Rashad Becker. B3 takes things deeper -- a slow percussive edit slowly drowned-out by a growling analog drone, while the closing side joins the dots between this EP series and that trio of albums for Mille Plateaux that would soon establish SND as the most forward-thinking and still resolutely original producers from an otherwise largely-forgotten musical era.