Tadd Mullinix's work under the alias X-Altera takes inspiration from atmospheric jungle as well as early-'90s Detroit techno and IDM, but it sounds like a fresh reinvention rather than a retread. The project's expansive tracks are filled with complex, time-stretched breakbeats and lush melodies, and seem more geared toward daydreaming than clubgoing. The debut full-length X-Altera was released by Mullinix's longtime home, Ghostly International, in 2018.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based artist began listening to techno and drum'n'bass during the '90s, and started spinning jungle records under the name SK-1 in 1995, long before the genre had a substantial following in the United States. Along with Todd Osborn, he founded Rewind Records and began releasing hard ragga-jungle as Soundmurderer & SK-1, starting with the 1998 single "Dreader Than Dread." Several additional singles appeared, each becoming sought-after releases, and Aphex Twin's Rephlex label compiled them on the 2003 full-length Rewind Records.
In the meantime, Mullinix kept busy with work under several other handles, including abstract IDM under his own name, acid techno as James T. Cotton (later shortened to JTC), and perhaps most notably, experimental hip-hop as Dabrye. While preparing for the release of Dabrye's long-anticipated Three/Three, Mullinix began revisiting half-forgotten records from the '90s, including the early catalog of broken beat pioneers 4hero as well as seminal Warp releases such as Detroit-based Kenny Larkin's Azimuth and the Artificial Intelligence series.
He began making complex, innovative tracks that recalled those sounds, but forged new territory, and he named the project X-Altera in tribute to Underground Resistance offshoots X-101 and X-102. After debuting X-Altera with first single "Check Out the Bass" and a performance at Ghostly International's opening party for Detroit's annual Movement festival, the moniker's eponymous debut album was released by Ghostly International in June of 2018. ~ Paul Simpson
- Ann Arbor, MI
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