Tolga Fidan – Now I´m Weak EP (VA009)

Pop a Dramamine, slap a patch behind your ear, and grab ahold of the railing, because Tolga Fidan’s debut EP “Now I´m Weak” lurches like a dinghy on the high seas. (Might as well throw on a slicker, too, because you’re gonna get wet.) You haven’t heard a synth swell as seasick as the one on “Abstract Prologues” since Motiivi:Tuntematon’s sinking tanker of a track, “1939.” But as woozily as this 12″ rolls, it never loses its grip on the floor: all three tracks are solidly grounded in the blunt, toe-stubbing funk that’s become a trademark of Berlin’s Vakant label, home to mega-talents of minimal like Alex Smoke, Mathias Kaden, Onur Özer, and Robag Wruhme.

Pretty impressive company for the newcomer Fidan, a French multi-instrumentalist who grew up on a steady diet of post-punk-indie, turned on to techno around three years ago, and composed these three tracks on a pair of headphones that cost about the same as two 12″ singles. You’d never know it from the tunes: Fidan’s grasp of dancefloor tactics is as sure as his knack for unhinged effects.

“Abstract Dialogues” kicks off with a vat of churning butter, and a host of creaky, creepy effects that are probably the sound of your arteries hardening: that bass is caloric stuff, indeed. The next seven minutes go exploring a beat that flexes like a bellows, huffing hot air and ashes over the glowing coals. “Ilsa”, with a good ol’ 808 clave and a handclap so crisp you could sell it in the produce section, veers closer to the peak hour, but the fireworks in the upper range are sure to illuminate the path to any afterparty. “Désolé”, meanwhile, sounds a little bit like Isolée in more than name: giving his sawtooths a good detuning, Fidan approximates the woozy qualities of the minimal genius’ classic tracks, roughing them up a bit with rude outbursts of static and reverb. Happily bipolar, the cut leads you two ways at once, via broken subwoofer grumblings, on the one hand, and on the other, gorgeous, almost naïve melodies worn like a faded iron-on on Fidan’s sleeve. Where you’ll find yourself at the end of it all, of course, is up to you.