Unknown Performer Role: Val Denham.
Primarily known for his recordings on influential techno labels Downwards and Sandwell District, both of which he co-founded, British producer Regis (Karl O'Connor) became associated with the Blackest Ever Black label shortly after it was founded in 2010. He released a couple of EPs on the label and remixed material by several of its artists. The 2015 collection Manbait compiles many of these tracks in addition to previously unreleased material, plus two tracks issued on Downwards. The album showcases many facets of O'Connor's sound, from his trademark pummeling industrial techno to ambient, downtempo, and darkwave cuts. His version of "He Was Human and Belonged with Humans" by Edinburgh-based duo Dalhous is atmospheric and beatless, with drifting voices and echoing saxophones. His starry, wondrous remix of Tropic of Cancer's "Plant Lilies at My Head" is even better, letting Camella Lobo's voice and resounding guitar notes drift freely. His takes on material by Raime and Vatican Shadow both bury clattering noises behind measured, suspenseful beats, ending up with more dramatic synth pads. O'Connor's own compositions stand out as well, from the icy "C U 1" (issued under the pseudonym Cub) to the lush, detailed soundscape and racing beats of "Blood Witness." Three different versions of Regis' track "Blinding Horses" are included, and they combine sheets of industrial guitar with ticking, throbbing beats (except for the pulsating ambient "Stableboy Version"). ~ Paul Simpson