Out-ER (Electronic Recordings)
TBR: 20th February
Chugging away beautifully on the back burner for many years, prolific yet deeply underground techno musician Aubrey makes a jump for the well-lit waters of the upper scene. Taking on a physics and astronomy edge for his latest pressing, naming the forces behind the Einstein ring effect in which stars bend the light of those behind them to form arcs, and if we're lucky, a complete ring. Proving that space-time is actually a fabric that is susceptible to warping through high concentrations of mass and energy, which are actually the same thing, really blows the cobwebs off the mental faculties. If the cosmos is a sheet, who makes the bed? If music can provide any answers, I'm sure Aubrey stands a great chance.
Since the early 90's, when techno and acid house were inaugural sounds to the dance-floor scene, and pioneers in electronic rhythm music made huge waves in each and every direction, Aubrey has been throwing in his penny's worth. Adapting with the times and honing his skills into a personalised sound, every dabble in the music pool seems to have established another foothold on that epic mountain that is recognition for, what is generally the case, uncountable hours of work. DJs such as Carl Cox and Eddie C have shared the decks with Aubrey, as he has made a genuine effort year on year to find a stage that suits his newest direction. Those truly in the know have had their eyes on this one for many years already. That's the beauty of the underground.
Beginning with a throaty synth which gargles and swells in the under-tone, a melodic blip begins to scale steps in a spiral around it. Like clouds trapped in a cone, the two forms collide in an unusual manner, revealing a strangely shaped object which manifests more unusual 'scapes as we ascend. Throbbing metallics with glistening keys that tap simple yet beautiful frills into the air coalesce in ever higher reaches. Aerglo Visible is a dreamy introduction to this LP. Floating to Rigel jumps straight in with a rhythm section. Clanging cymbals and drum tip-tap their way in a steady and simple beat while unusual space-age sounds begin to grow like spring shoots from the soil. Orchestrated sections with sonic explorations of whistle and synthesiser tone combine to bring an interesting medley of directions.
Next up is Doctor Portia. The tribal feel in the introducing rhythm encourages movement, while as soon as we're settled into it, a vocal sample of a telephone call shrills out over the top like a low-flying helicopter. Funky melodics swish in from the side to replace the tension with a smooth sway into a nicely lit living space. A wobbling guitar strums disjointed chords over a trembling bass and drum section. Filling sounds of splashing cymbal and wooden feeling taps sure up the quiet bits with intent. Soon, the telephone call begins again and this time effects make it even harder to distinguish the words. With the following number, a lounge feel pushes in and covers up any feelings of discomfort. A major key melody and a happy energetic drumbeat establishes an easy going groove that we can slide into. Cosmic sounding synthesiser tones add an extra layer of futuristic to the mix. Journey To The Blue Planet (Part 2) drifts along in a watery and sunshine infused progression.
A darker feel escapes from the mixing desk as the next number enters the airwaves. A sinister two note bass line on a breathy synth dabbles with a growing intense rhythm which spirals and turns like a manic dancer. As the swell grows into a bloom, petals of springy sound spread out in all directions. Shadowy beats with oddly angled sonic plateaus grow into the spaces like slowly creeping starlight. Saros Cycle reminds us that even the sun can be eclipsed by a humble moon. Title track, Gravitational Lensing is up next. A highly motivated synthesiser spans long distance scale journeys on a simple pivot while a steady beat thumps down the pace at which we ought to progress. Galactic sounding spirals of sound span the whole of the mix with reaching arms in which individual blips of drum and tone craft delicately painted pictures which reach from one side to the other. Somewhere in the amalgam, there will be countless examples of waveform and matter interacting with our minds.
A slinky melody crunches in over the previous number. Taking strips in an up and down fashion, the notations give us an easy time for dancing. A catchy rhythm spells out the steps which the dynamic upper section directs the feet in and out of the central location. It progresses in waveform, slight adjustments bring out newer shining beams from the repeating passes. Elara Passes is a transition from one to another with a casual step and a smiling attitude. UDFJ-39546284 breaks out the bubbles with melody and drum, unwrapping the energy for even more orbital dancing. Synths which spread out like sunrises on planetary horizons cusp over enlivened and invigorating rhythms. Sporadic and jumpy cymbals add an extra quality of creativity to the fast moving track.
Orbit Of Oberon begins with a crafty bassline with funky elements that rumbles through the undergrowth like a python. A skyward synthesiser spells out combinations of well-lit windows and wide-open doors while the music gradually progresses into a richer and more wholesome experience. New elements of sound find their way in from behind the trees and steadily saunter in through the open portals. After we have settled in to the dreamy and motivational sounds of the previous track, it's replaced by a jazzy melody on the keyboards which is kept afloat by a surprisingly bouncy underlay of tone and rhythm. Jingly cymbals and sludgy quick-stepping drums give a degree of buoyancy we're not often treated to with this kind of mind music. Binary Jazz perhaps wants to culminate the album with a direction of fun and excitement as we draw to a close.
Another high energy tone begins with the next track. Second to last, a digital frenzy of sonics brings out a new direction of dance-worthy fusion. High-speed drumming with repeating melodic phrases give a transcendental sensation to the ever-changing backdrop in the sounds. Subtle shifts from one tone form to another give a new window quality to the music which keeps us exploring the track and looking around. Lost In Tucana is a short and snappy run through starry eyes observation. It makes way for the final track, EXO 0706, 1 + 5913. It takes a slower turn through dreamy and thoughtful synthesiser tones which creep around in an almost oriental fashion. New worlds and distant shores conjure images of the furthest reaches of our own world perhaps. This highly progressive album takes us on a cosmic fantastic journey through science, mathematical rhythms, and artistic compositions that mirror the reality of the universe exquisitely.
Listen to the track Orbit Of Oberon on Soundcloud.
Buy/Pre-order the album on Bandcamp, cool vinyl still available!
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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