Review

Stephen Mallinder

Tick Tick Tick

Dais • 2022

When Stephen Mallinder released his album »Um Dada« three years ago, the great pandemic hadn’t yet arrived and his former Cabaret Voltaire comrade-in-arms Richard H. Kirk was still alive. One thing that has stayed the same on his latest album »Tick Tick« though: co-producer and synthesiser wizard Benge, with whom Mallinder had previously also collaborated as part of the trio Wrangler. Now the two of them continue their laconic funky house project, which has become even more concentrated and spartan in the meantime. At the same time, the form they use shows some parallels with Cabaret Voltaire in the mid-eighties; basically, both are songs about club music structures. With Cabaret Voltaire, the whole thing was at best proto-house, but Stephen Mallinder has recognisably remained true to his rough spoken word vocals of yesteryear, even if he doesn’t quite seem to trust them during the first half of the album and hides behind a cupboard full of effects equipment. When he relies solely on the microphone as an electronic mediator instead, things sound more urgent right away. All in all, it’s a bit of a stylistic update for nostalgics, although it’ s practically been a genre in itself for at least a decade.