Ichinen are a duo from Italy comprised of two techno producers, Roberto Bosco and Kiny. Dual Craters is their first full-length album and explores experimental ambient soundscapes using the framework of dub techno.
At this point dub techno is almost twenty-five years old and a well-established subgenre of electronic music subject to a fair amount of cliché. As a listener, I’ve had an on/off relationship with it since the late 90s, but I always come back to the classics and newer albums that have some personality and pique my interest.
Dual Craters is a based on a theme of space travel and discovery of alien life. While certainly not an unfamiliar backstory in ambient music, I think it is a well-suited compliment to the dark music on the album. Sonically, each track is made up of elements such as pin pricks, clicks, pops, squeaks, deep rubbery bass notes, psychedelic beeps, melodic synth stabs, and kick drums. These are enhanced by a variety of echo, reverb, delay, and other types of dub effects. The sound is dark and ominous, but not so dark that it lets no light in. There is a loose, organic flow to the way each track progresses, which makes sense given that the album was composed during live recording sessions. Some of the tracks here sound like a deconstructed, abstract take on dub music, which I like.
One standout feature of this album is that Bosco and Kiny know when to weave certain looped elements in and out the mix and when to let the atmosphere of a track just breathe. About midway through, things seem to become a bit more accessible, but Dual Craters doesn’t go for a full-on dance-driven feel. That’s a wise move because it would spoil the feel laid out by the first half of the album.
While it’s way too early to say whether Dual Craters belongs in the upper echelon of dub techno classics, it’s an intriguing album that deserves your time.