PTU — Am I Who I Am (June 17th, 2019)                         PTU — Am I Who I Am (June 17th, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)⊗      Nina Kraviz’ TRIP presents the debut album Am I Who I Am by Alina Izolenta and Kamil Ea, the duo more formally known as PTU. Across twelve tracks PTU cut and chop their way through frenetic marching drums and spiralling acid leads, awakening an army of malfunctioning robots as they go. Whilst Am I Who I Am boasts a vast spectrum of bizarre ideas — often introduced at high velocity — each one is executed with a skillful dose of restraint, summoning energy from microscopically detailed arrangements. From the angular maximalism of ‘Castor & Pollux’ to the eerie polyrhythms of ‘After Cities’ and the relentless hammer drills of ‘Sirocco’, PTU find life in the most extraordinary of places.
Location: Russia
Album release: June 17th, 2019
Record Label: Trip/CLONE
01. Doc 22   3:39
02. The Pursuit of a Shadow
03. Castor and Pollux
04. After Cities
05. Former Me
06. How Does it Feel
07. Over   3:23
08. Copper Mines, New Machines and the Future Conspiracy
09. Which Word is the Coldest
10. Sirocco
11. Skyscript
12. I Heard You Breathe
∇      Also on vinyl 2x12inch
by Ben Cardew, June 20, 2019 | Score: 8.0
⊗       The Russian duo’s frenetic approach is more techno egg~and~spoon race than tech~house marathon, packed with improbable sounds, intriguing blind alleys, and eyebrow~raising quirks.
•   The music of Russian producers PTU is a ragtag collage, the gleeful antidote to sensibly beige tech~house or the cynical opportunism of corporate EDM. Originally from the southwestern city of Kazan, the duo of Alina Izolenta and Kamil Ea found wider attention thanks to star DJ Nina Kraviz, who included their track “A Broken Clock Is Right Twice a Day” on her stellar fabric 91 mix. There, its tightly wound mixture of found sound, thumping drums, and kaleidoscopic IDM suggested a brilliantly overactive musical imagination. PTU take no great innovative leaps on Am I Who I Am, their debut album for Kraviz’s трип (Trip) label — rather, they ride roughshod over the usual boundaries. Their idea~rich sound is packed with details borrowed from four decades of electronic music: a breakbeat here, a rave squelch there, and a healthy sprinkling of oddball found sound and jacking~techno vigor.
•   PTU’s production largely relies on dancefloor fundamentals like galloping BPMs, distorted four~to~the~floor kick drums, and abrasive synths. But in a genre famed for repetition, their hyperactive tracks refuse to sit still. Ideas that would form the backbone of other producers’ EPs are tried, tested, and tossed aside as PTU scramble for new pastures. Their frenetic approach is more techno egg~and~spoon race than tech~house marathon, a crazed trolley dash to EDM’s efficient weekend shop.
•   The 12 tracks on Am I Who I Am slip by in 45 giddy minutes, with little opportunity for tail~chasing repetition. “I Heard You Breathe” teases a breakbeat that rings tantalisingly out of reach, like the bell of a sunken ship that can be heard only at low tide. “How Does It Feel” drops a jittery jazz sample that lasts just 20 seconds, but its use is telling; like jazz musicians, PTU are improvisers, and their music crackles with the unstable energy of spontaneity. As a result, they tend to move in zigzags. “Skyscript” lurches from straight~ahead four~four beats into a nightmarish coda where an organ drones in anguished stupefaction. “Over” begins with a bouncing Joey Beltram hoover riff, which is then abandoned in favor of moody bass surges and the tinkle of a triangle, before being overtaken by a strangulated vocal chorus. Not until a minute in does the track find its feet, kicking into propulsive techno.
•   But PTU don’t just have any old ideas. They have great ones, packing Am I Who I Am with improbable sounds, intriguing blind alleys, and eyebrow~raising quirks. The wandering bass line and “Star Trek” door swoosh on “The Pursuit of a Shadow,” the cutlery rattle and chipmunk vocal on “Former Me,” and the ghostly spectre of polyrhythmic rave on “After Cities” are the work of two people in love with electronic sound. And yet this music is the opposite of a functional DJ tool. There’s nothing practical or workman~like about songs like “Over” and “Skyscript”; they are awkward, spiky, and strange, oddities held together by the kinetic energy of imagination.