Usually, when dubstep tries to be scary, it errs on the side of cartoonish excess. Anstam, on the other hand, makes music that's all the more terrifying for what it keeps hidden. Between 2007 and 2009, the Berlin producer (aka Lars Stöwe) put out three cryptic 12-inches that were less Fright Night than Frankenstein, summoning a nameless dread with little more than shuddering kick drums and the buzz of shorted circuits. Now he applies his gothic sensibilities to techno with the debut EP under his new alias, Anno Stam. Not, like, Bauhaus gothic, but Edgar Allen Poe gothic. "I Still Have the Photographs" opens with an arrhythmic thud that sounds like someone pounding violently on the front door; the swollen kick drum that answers it is straight out of "The Tell-Tale Heart." Detuned strings careen woozily around the upper register; a hint of chromatic carousel organ suggests a haunted carnival. It's hardly a one-note exercise in schlock; at certain points, it's almost disarmingly pretty. But unease lingers like a whiff of burnt ozone; the title might be a reverie, but it's just as likely a threat.
Anno Stamm's Fragments EP is out March 25 on Dublin's All City label. Listen to "I Still Have the Photographs" in full here, and check out further track previews below.