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Released last spring, Air Max '97's debut EP, Progress & Memory, seemed to capture a wider mood. Dubbing his productions "oblique club trax, " the Melbourne producer was one of a loose cluster of producers exploring high-velocity collisions of globally dispersed dance styles. This community was mostly educated (and united) through the internet, and tended to prioritise hybridity over dance floor utility. In Air Max's case this proved a weakness, as he struggled to marshal his freewheeling ideas into sleek, effective forms. For his return to Liminal Sounds, he's gone some way towards fixing this problem. Partly this is a matter of improved technique, but it's also to do with a subtle aesthetic recalibration. Progress & Memory favoured icy, angular textures; Fruit Crush's sound palette is better understood by it's title or it's artwork, a still life of fruit slices rendered in lurid oranges, pinks and greens. The title track's sugared chord stabs and glossy vocal phonemes form a nice sweet and sour dichotomy with the bass stabs growling down below. Assembled into a dense polyrhythmic assault, the effect is something like a super-saccharine Shackleton. Elsewhere, things aren't quite as interesting. "Shape Cut" dials down the colour and doesn't offer much to replace it. The elegiac melodies of fellow Aussie Strict Face, meanwhile, might have been just the boost Air Max needed on "Armour Form"; sadly the collaboration doesn't quite bring out the best in either producer.
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