Ekman’s fourth release on Bedouin Records finds the Dutch producer - real name Roel Dijcks - turn in a set of ultra-brooding club tracks. A Pastime For Semi Gods picks up where Ekman's previous Bedouin Records drop, 2018 EP Tangent, left off. While Dijcks cycles between a range of styles here, almost everything on A Pastime For Semi Gods has a claustrophobic feel about it.
The LP builds to a crescendo in its first half. With its greyscale atmospherics and keening synthesizers, first number ‘Open’ (a fitting title) brings to mind what Burial might get up to if he began making electro. ‘Thinking Code’ and A Pastime For Semi Gods’ title-track up the ante by incorporating some scuffed-up industrial kick drums while ‘If Than Else’ has a nightmarish flavour to it that wouldn't sound out of place in a John Carpenter film. At the end of this run we find album centrepiece ‘Metamemory’, a track which returns to the vibe of ‘Open’ while also incorporating the sort of beatific drones Sunn O))) would be proud of.
While some points in A Pastime For Semi Gods’ second half invoke the feeling of its first - industrial techno cut ‘Margin Of Error’ is particularly hefty - Ekman also allows some shards of light to break tentatively through the clouds as the album pushes on. Acid basslines give ‘To See You This Way’ and ‘End Title’ some melodic thrust, a feeling that is heightened by the somewhat sturdier keyboard harmonies. While not exactly chipper, their inclusion does provide A Pastime For Semi Gods with fresh impetus in its home straight.
The prolific Ekman turns in some uniquely black-hearted club tackle on new LP A Pastime For Semi Gods.