When Dario Zenker christened the #4.26 alias in 2010, the Ilian Tape label he ran with his brother Marco was still hitting its stride. They were only just getting back to vinyl releases after a digital-only spell to pay off distributor debts, and their trademark sound was still crystallising. You can hear this sound—or Dario’s spin on it, at least—taking shape across the five #4.26 records he released on Frozen Border until 2013. (The records were released anonymously at first—the alias is Zenker’s initials in Frozen Border’s letters-to-numbers code.) A pair of early 12-inches were relatively faceless dub techno, while later ones gained mass, melodic drama and broken beat spice. By now the Ilian sound is firmly lodged in the techno consciousness, and Zenker doesn’t mess with it on this revival of the pseudonym for MDR.

The record could be a partner piece to last year’s EP on Ilian Tape. “Trivin”‘s foghorn bass resurfaces on the excellent “Whenever Voi” as a subterranean rumble under wistful halftime drums. Elsewhere, sandpaper surfaces, rugged grooves and streaks of grubby euphoria mark these tracks out as Zenker’s. We get a broad spectrum of moods, including various shades of club tool caught between pensive and banging. There’s “Mono Middle,” which slowly cranks up the energy, and “Van Cul,” which wants for a bit of development over its static five minutes. There’s also a peak-time slammer, “Free Upload,” where Zenker pares his sound back to its ruthless looping core. And then there’s the sweet beatless track, “Past Vibration,” which does indeed sound like something from the past—the theme tune from an old public information broadcast, maybe.
— 3.6/5 | Angus Finlayson | https://www.residentadvisor.net/reviews/22164