Heartthrob & Troy Pierce — Square One


  • Artist: Heartthrob & Troy Pierce
  • Title: Square One
  • Label: Minus
  • Catalog: MINUS95
  • Release date: September 13th 2010


  • Square One
  • Puka Haole
  • Island Rumors
  • Kahana

The devil is in the details. Three years after their successful Minus MVS1 release, Square One marks a return to a long-standing collaboration between Troy Pierce and label mate Jesse Siminski aka Heartthrob. The release is inspired by the duo’s new performance moniker of the same name, which combines DJ-ing along with live performance elements. The three detail oriented tracks wind their way through tense, angular synths, solid drum programming, dusty droning sound spheres and swinging dissonant cords. Humorous, upfront, and chaotic at times, these productions are not afraid to stand apart and cause a full on freak out.
While touring last winter in the United States the four tracks were written in Hawaii on the island of Maui. Square One functions as a step forward for the duo towards their new performance project and ideally will satisfy the appetites of forward thinking Techno fans the world over. Troy and Jesse wish to thank Tobias Freund, for lending his Golden Ears to the final mix of these tracks.
The title track Square One is a beast that utilizes stomping rock inspired drums that are tweaked and played off of a boiling hot synthesizer line to the track’s apex. Throughout, the focus is on dance floor pressure, as sharp high hats and sleazy drum rolls dodge analog noise bursts. Driven by tight sub bass, it is a unique take on Troy’s intricate grooves, fused with Jesse’s penchant for over-the-top melody and composition. This track is not for the timid dance floor.

While Puka Haole (which means white devil’s hole in Hawaiian) is another sinister builder, a funky growling Moog bass melody, whose filters open and close suggestively around broken beats, carries the loose arrangement. Heavy snare rolls cut through and give order to polyphonic synth blasts. The atmosphere is electric and tense with delay lines and a soaring banshee choir. Ultimately a swinging melody brings even more energy to the anxious air of the track until it disintegrates.
Building from the first two cuts is Island Rumors, another stormer that shares the same cutting percussion and tough sub bass foundation as the other tracks but has a lighter disposition. Island Rumors dives headlong into tight jacking house beats, but pairs them with alternating ominous and uplifting synth chords. It pushes forward steadily as murmuring voices pass eerily, whispering rumors. It’s a welcome foil to the mayhem of its sister tracks, but nonetheless a relentless funk jam.
Finally there is Kahana. Abstract piano stabs distort in digital fog and echoes. This song cruises steadily from its calm beginning with an air of melancholy to something more complex. There is a nod to dub in the half time polyrhythms and profusely reverbed delays. Don’t let the tenderness fool you. Before long, sharp snares amplify and construct a tight groove that builds and builds but never loses its restraint.