Peter Van Hoesen
Opal Balance EP
TBR: 11th February
Opening the doors to his fresh Center 91 impress, Peter Van Hoesen puts his own mark down as catalogue entry number one. This Belgian soundsmith wants to turn back the clock and explore everything memorable about the late nineties Belgian underground. Electronic music fans, wipe away the drool, enqueue these tracks and take a trip to yesterday's Europe. With rave and techno dominating the scene at the time, it's no wonder that Van Hoesen wants to push the sights towards these epic, room moving sounds.
It begins with a frantic techno beat, thumping bass and jostling hats which project a fast dancing tempo. Soon, subtle electronic sounds bubble up from underneath, they're mechanical and vocal expressions as if our printer were trying to speak. More rhythms build in through the underground, and span new sections of energetic intent. Rumbling drums that move along in a funky melody revolve around the quick and steady atmospherics. Static and synth merge through twisting corridors of rhythmic sound and the surging tones that build and flow underneath become gradually more intense. Gadarene feels like a futuristic yet stripped down rendition of dance-floor history. As it progresses and shifts around, the consistent beat keeps everything together in one forward facing arrow of dance.
Kres comes next. Starting with an atmosphere piercing rhythm made of high pitched drums, soon new undercurrents of beat join in to build the scene. Bouncy sonics throw themselves like detuned strings on a bass guitar. Joining the dots with elasticated notes, a spongy and wholesome sandwich of tones begins to form the tune. Still more rhythms pile in to keep the energy floating high above our heads. Disorientating bass with fast quick stepping rhythms make this an interesting and mind prompting number. Strange animal sounds begin to form from the distorted synth tones, and soon even these crumble down into something hardly recognisable. Thrusting through the chaotic surge of sound comes another beat, this time at a seemingly greater tempo. Maybe it's all in my head, who knows, it doesn't matter anymore.
Third up is the title track. Funky drums with an infusion of crispy static begin the pulse. Soon another layering of drums gives a secondary feel to the flow. Sonic journeys revolve in a spiralling ascent through dynamic beats and hilly horizons of sound. Rhythmic synths like energy weapons thrust their bolts of charge across the room, from left to right, and their echoing presence assists the forward thrust of the music. Opal Balance wants to increase the pressure, raise the energy, and improve the flow of dance in the room. With intellectual beats and fascinating sounds the dance piece keeps us excited and wanting to move.
Stodgy electro bass begins the fourth and final number on this EP. Subtle hats tap away behind in the background while chompy and multi-faceted tones step around on a pivot of key. Layers of drums sprinkle over at various sections while new and stretchy sounds gently lay over the top. Robotic and industrial atmospheres dominate the whole EP however this time they seem to be the main player. Technological adventures into sonic horizons with a catchy dancing beat seem to be the right cup of tea for this newly founded imprint. Center 91 looks set to blast the past back at us in the guise of accessible modernity.
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