The Hospital Productions imprint hosts the debut album of Phase Fatale (aka Hayden Payne), an industrial and EBM-tinged set that sits in a similar vein to contemporaries like Oliver Ho’s Broken English Club alias, amongst others.

Across 7 tracks Payne establishes a potent balance between crushed and distorted sonics and the post-punk flavourings that peppered some of his earlier productions on labels like Ostgut Ton and Jealous God. It’s his partnership with Jealous God that says the most; his productions quake with the same character that pioneers like Silent Servant and Regis spent their many years perfecting. It’s all the more impressive, then, that despite this clear lineage of producers working in a similar field, Payne manages to find an individual approach to working in this style.

Opener Spoken Ashes is a perfect example of this – the EBM-tinged gated bassline and vocal echoes are underpinned by a muscular, grooving rhythm section that shares more with the world of contemporary techno than it does with the work of say, Broken English Club. This synthesis should hopefully give DJs the push needed to unleash these tracks in a club, the environment they were undoubtedly made to be heard in.

Track 3 (Human Shield) could be mistaken for a long-lost Meat Beat Manifesto dub remixed by Vatican Shadow, while Beast dials the propulsion way back in favour of an exploration of space and ambiguous mood. The track’s latter half sees a semi-melodic hook emerge out of one of the hums of feedback, a brilliant move that carries the track triumphantly to its close.

This is Phase Fatale’s most mature and complete work to date, and an excellent package to serve as an entry point for anyone unfamiliar with this side of dance music. Brilliant stuff!

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