Mikkel Metal is a Danish artist who has been putting out 12" releases over the course of the past couple years that seem to call into reference work done by several different artists and labels, yet he does an admirable job of doing things just differently enough to make his work stick out in a crowded field. If I were to pick out one thing that Metal does much better than most, it would be to simply say that his work is subtle. While there's nothing on Close Selections that's going to come right out and knock you over the head with its originality, the album is also amazingly consistent as it runs through different washed-out, sepia-toned world.
Over the course of fourteen tracks and almost sixty five minutes of music, Metal touches on a variety of reference points. After opening with a short track that sounds like it's going to lead into a dancefloor post-house thump, the album slides off into the crackly, dub influenced "Rodd," which recalls the clicky wobbles of Stephan Betke (aka Pole) on his earlier releases. After a couple tracks that keep in line with the same feel, the album picks up slightly with more upbeat "Brond," which survives on a lean mixture of potent beats and delayed melody lines that sound like they could have fit right in on a Basic Channel release.
In a couple places, the album stumbles a bit when the style changes a bit more drastically. "Sprang (2003)" mixes filtered vocals and much more obvious sounding melodies into something that treads the line towards electo while "Larkin (reprise)" again feels a bit out-of-place with more bubbly synth lines and minimal vocodored vocals. Fortunately, the rest of the album keeps things locked in a more warm textural womb of hazy melodies and decaying dub beats that works quite well. When the more banging "Image" hits, it makes you wish Metal would lay down a few more tracks with solid beats, even though the watery rumbles of his other work (especially the super slow swagger of the closer "Clora") work so well. As mentioned above, there probably isn't a whole lot on the album that really pops out, but it's still a very solid listen if you're into minimal post-dub (or whatever you want to call it).