Specter‘s Built To Last is nearly perfect, structurally and musically it is top 5 on the album of the year list of anyone that wants to be taken seriously. The only flaw is how difficult to find it is – a problem with any record released on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature these days, but especially with one that had so much advanced praise that it’s become like tracking down a certain strain of weed in an urban drought. That first hit, though, is worth the hunt.

“What Else You Do” leads off with a funked up audio collage, a dense cyclone of sound and sound design. After this, the savage gods – there is no predicting what track will follow another. A heavy synth and electro influence becomes apparent. “Under The Viaduct” is one of the best examples of this – dramatic, like an unsettling soundtrack for a reboot of the movie Drive re-cut as a dystopian thriller. “0829 Fifty Fifty” is a thumping track that seems to be in the process of creation as we’re listening, like a bacteria culture blooming in intense and beautiful patterns. “Hunchback” and “Not New To This” are other personal favorites – the former sick underground techno in the vein of Hieroglyphic Being, and the latter the climax of the album and maybe Specter’s career to this point. You can almost imagine this one sitting in a project file for months, maybe years – unfinished, unloved but with something to that melodic sweep and irresistible organic groove just waiting for time and attention. And it comes out perfect.

The techno album has become something of a sign of our times – there’s either so much cheap money or excess ego sloshing around that some guys have three or four LPs under their belt before they’re old enough to legally play them in a nightclub. It’s hard to get through a lot of them, not least of all because they’re so often an unlistenable cocktail of headphone music made by DJs and club music made by hipsters without the foggiest notion of how to really DJ.

But you know when you get the real thing. It’s when you brace for a feeling of disappointment when it’s almost over, when you see 8 tracks and wish there were 9.

Specter: Built To Last (Sound Signature)
1. Specter: What Else You Do
2. Specter: Under The Viaduct
3. Specter: 0829 Fifty Fifty
4. Specter: Hunchback
5. Specter: Not New To This
6. Specter: Sidewinder
7. Specter: Tamarindo
8. Specter: Jaws Of Life
9. Specter: 3000 Years*
10. Specter: Magnets On Wood*
11. Specter: Out Of Touch**

*Vinyl Exclusives
**Cassette Exclusives



5 Magazine Issue 165IN THE GROOVE: Originally published inside #5Mag165 featuring Danny J Lewis, Aakmael, Roman Zawodny & UKR, Nate Manic & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.