Venn Diagram


Mark Hawkins readies Venn Diagram album for Aus Music. Mark Hawkins's early releases on labels such as Djax Up Beats and Ugly Funk lit flares in the world of underground techno, with a sense of humor and tougher-than-thou sonic palette enforced via his jacking live sets. Across the following decades, Mark has delivered razor sharp cuts that encompass pretty much anything that has an electronic heart -- leaving his own unique trail for others to follow via his work for labels as diverse as Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Sonic Mind, Mistress Recordings, Houndstooth, and Aus. With his latest album, it feels like Mark has pushed ahead with a change of direction he started with 2021's The New Normal. Venn Diagram carries on this journey into uncharted lands; molten, distorted drum assaults weave around glistening melodies, kitchen sink soul glides below fractured sound pools. Opener "Verblex Oscillos" immediately demands your attention grabbing, with a so-happy-it's-sad melody spiraling around a cascade of tough-as-fuck dance floor destroying beats, along with the urgent combination of strings, acid, and Chicago-tough electro beats on "Isolated". Other cuts on the album share a similar approach, the restless energy of "Maladayfun Friction" derives from a fusion of skittering drums and deranged synths and the dreamy super saw pads and plaintive vocal of "Still Have Time" espouses a kind of wasted elegance, roaming the city nightlife in a Gucci dress and Doc Martin boots. "Nlasckhdsjk" and "Frederikalstublieft" propel forward with such a sleek and effervescent aesthetic, recalling fast drives along picturesque European highways or heady take-offs to unknown urban territories. The aesthetic becomes more elegant on the album's centerpoint tracks "Rebula Conundrum" and "Nlasckhdsjk", where optimistic bleeps, bass and 707 drums underpin jazzy chords and soaring leads. Other tracks show the arc of Mark's direction of travel, with soulful vocals that share a well of deep-rooted optimism that was so evident on his breakthrough 2016 Social Housing album. "L.O.V.E." breaks into post-Sophie territory with a catchy modulated vocal joyfully two-stepping across to the nightclub bar and "How Do I Know" providing a heart-rending torch song for 6am kicking-out-time refugees to help them find their way back home.