TBR: 5th April
Bristol is a melting pot for all kinds of electronic experimentation, and this album by local hero Minotaur Shock reflects this perfectly. Admittedly made by experimenting without any clear direction, MINO is comprised of those moments when the exploration of technical equipment meant the only thing left to do was to press record. Finding a unique flow and flavour in amongst the chaotic realms of testing and trialling various techniques, getting to know ones own kit involves pushing it in as many directions as we can creatively imagine. Knowing when what we have is gold is also a skill that takes minds like Minotaur Shock to recognise and put into action. This first release on the brand new Bytes imprint, the offshoot of Ransom Note aims to highlight some of the more heterogeneous offerings on offer from the area.
Opening on wobbly space-age tones, multi faceted melody draws abstract lines in the shifting sky. Digital breaths and pulsations of intentional fizz culminate in a watery shimmer. This sleeks out to a silence, while brief sonics poke through like reflective eyes. All returns, and new layers of melody pull the intentions together. Sunny and bright musical lines run into airy and light percussion that pushes out a neat and well timed motion to the otherworldly manifestation of sound. Chords break free, their resonant chimes lift the whole piece higher into the space provided. Another break down reveals more breathy tones, this time more human sounding. The rhythm capsizes again, bringing the aquatic realm of bubbles and light around us once more. Grey is a tranquil and dreamy number, it has punch yet also leans back in a relaxed groove we can feel comfortable in.
Flytip Toe starts with a sinister edge, eerie and full of character. Broken drums scatter like shards of sound over a plate of sonic intentions. Manic bass wanders in aimless scales up and down stairs to nowhere while the music pulls itself together for the break. Chiming lights transcend the darkness and shimmer a pleasurable softness across the disjointed flow. Oddly angled drumming and long stretches of instigatory synthesiser bring on mental pushes of picturesque thought. Digital sounds and space-age orchestral fills allow for a sense of the distant future echoed back in time for us to listen to.
Summertime grooves span out before us for track three. Feel good chord progressions reveal sunny avenues to walk down and a neatly timed kick drum provides an interesting progressive tempo. New elements of drumming are added which smooths out the percussion into a more recognisable bar shaped structure. Simple yet effective, two tone synthesiser melodics create a stereoscopic scene for our ears. Subtle drums continue to fill the spaces between the footsteps, a backdrop of social-life and pleasure found in daily living shimmers from both sides. Foment is a slow number, it's steady evolution brings on dreamy and vibrant horizons of sonic sculpture.
A playful and childlike melody opens the score for Petr Petr. This sunny and vibrant number uses tropical sounding chimes to bring on a fun and laid-back groove. Suddenly, like a clap of thunder, the voice of the synthesiser changes and with looped tones in sequenced formations, a new melody begins. Full of jumpy bass that's puffed up with stodgy drums, metallic percussives and bouncy distortions reverberate together in a cake-mix of layered rhythm. Those steel-drum like sounds creep back in from the sidelines and with new and organic compositional additives, bring in enlivened and dramatic twists and turns. This track evolves gracefully and with passion, delving from one end to the other with the help of some funky composition, we're left in awe as it fades into silence.
Industrial buzzes and taps build the next number. With rhythmic strikes on various hard surfaces, a brisk string melody builds from underneath. Pipes with distorted trill effects crow in unison while the melody evolves and becomes much fuller with the insertion of extra synthesiser tone. Windy corridors of sonic infusion twist through the centre while digital flurries of snowy notes blow around in the tunnels of moving air. Drawn out sustain mirrors abstractly with stuttering and short lived strikes on various musical elements. Manic melody spreads across the whole surface like a fruity jam, full of seed and various mixed flavours. Prittskin is an insane yet highly enjoyable frolic through sonic craziness.
A slow and intricate intro comes next. Good Birds To See starts on a delicately placed drumbeat full of extremely light touches. Chirruping notes begin a pretty melody, which evolve into much more jungle infused warbles. A bassline then breaks open the bottle and pours out a digital fizzy liquid. Chiming melodics on slow moving discs twinkle like distant stars as the quick stepping and expressive digi-bass manages to tell the story pretty much all by itself. It's given a brief reprieve, and more birdlike chimes and whistles crow out over the hilltops of sound. All comes together as the track finds its feet, each element ideally mixed into the amalgam and allowed to sit where it feels best.
Upbeat and disco inspired rhythms make a show for Landline (Your Dad). It's got a party feel that comes on hard with even more jumpy composition in the rapid fire melody and bassline. Catchy clap drums give a steady beat that anyone can dance to, while fun and enchanting note combinations emote their abstract messages over the top. Fast and fun, this digital electro number is like driving down the motorway, each street light zipping by at regular illuminated intervals. As the car turns corners and passes over ever encroaching horizons, the scenery merges from city to country then back again with mere flickers of the dreamy eye.
Ending on Waxflower, this subtle and beautiful number uses all kinds of digital wizardry to draw us in for one final journey. Pleasant rhythms and deliciously designed sonics build on each other to create a wander through yet more imagery and futuristic feeling landscapes. Wooden feels on blippy sonics with the crumble of digital replication create a cavernous space full of drips and representation. Long passages of time reach out while we slowly walk down them, admiring the formations on the walls. This dreamy yet highly catchy album makes use of dance and ambient themes to bring about a truly worthwhile sonic experience.
Get involved with Minotaur Shock on Facebook
Also find Bytes Records on Bandcamp
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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