X-Rated (Remastered Re-release)
Out 1st March
Celebrating the pioneering steps made by analogue Soviet sound sculptor Solar X, Galaxiid take a profound move forward of their own. Being the second release on this brand new label, a bit of number symmetry makes perfect sense. A second run of this classic album with brand new artwork and a vinyl edition for the first time ever will really put this imprint on the music map. The great eye-catching cover image designed by Japanese graphician Kaiichi Tanaami, and distinct flavour of soviet era technology, will no doubt inspire a whole new generation of sonic experiments. It's well known that Solar-X also works as a lecturer and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. The psychological impact of his music definitely utilises some of the known principles about pattern and form within information, even if presented as sound. As we are aware, some of the best electronic music in the world comes right out of Russia, with Moscow being a hub for all kinds of sonic art. This is arguably where it all began.
It opens with a static infused rhythm joined by a deep and sumptuous bass. The sub-tones reach right into us and as we are left in awe, a new phase begins on chording synths. Oddly harmonised sounds begin to carve a sonic journey through distorted drums and rhythmic pulsations of industrial sounding percussion. New patterns in the drums emerge and bring various directions of mobile energy to the track. It all slows down, a curious sensation builds over the music and a new quicker drum breaks loose and pulls the whole thing along. Then, muddy and coarse tones push on through the sludge, their globular forms dolloping wavelengths over the pristine landscape. A sudden and steady cymbal beat surges forward, dominating the tempo and revealing a brilliant dancing pulse. Everything then speeds up, slows down, and warps into minimal beats. Wicked And Beautiful lives up to its name. It ends on a run of blippy bass with catchy dancing tones which reverberate over disjointed percussives.
Second number TuchPulses (edit) makes use of dreamy chime synthesiser sounds with staunch bass distortions mirrored by glass bottle percussion. Warbling effects swoop in with gliding ease, culminating the recipe for a slow moving stroll through ambient soundscapes. Crystal clear sonics with regular broken sections of drum build and flow like a viscous liquid, as it churns and rolls over its own weight, different elements of the amalgam present their delectability. With swamping sound of thick current which push us on through the mix, the scenery gently changes with new insertions of rhythm. Various tree forms and fence-posts line the way among standing cattle and distant chimneys.
Now we reach the next section, as we turn over the vinyl and replace the stylus. A steady beat with industrially edged bass tones begins the tune. New rhythms appear and as they layer in neatly, the width of the track increases exponentially. A driving energy rises to the top as everything centres on a frantic two-step drum-beat, marching us forward in the gloomy dancing halls of the Russian city life. Grimy undertones with computerised fractal melodies join hands to the continual bolting percussion, flying us over fields and hedges, rivers and towns. Like a wet, underground cave, the reverberations of sound create a spacious arena for our ears to explore. This duality of sonic effects is really fun. A track called Dominatrix, we're reminded of the power-play of ego.
Mistress Awaits You finds us in a calm and shimmering zone. Pipe music shines in from each side, oddly ejected notes protrude from sweet melodic composition. Duck sounds, distorted and bent over steep inclines of torque quackle like sinister voices. Maybe this ghostly pond of peddle-boats and decrepit islands just outside the rickety bandstand is home for many a spectre. Bringing home the energy of darkness and mysterious unknowing into the sonic realm for us, the mistress Sonic X speaks of is perhaps this. As we invent our allusions into the pitch, only the haunting resonance of previality can help us.
Warmth and relaxing tone wash over the uncertainty of before. A quicker, clubby rhythm penetrates the cushioning and provides us with an uplifting energy. Life is good on this side of the border, and as the progression pushes into second gear, the melody shifts to incorporate more depth. A wide reaching spectrum of sonic archaeology spins a web of rhythm and intrigue as various tones nestle together with drumming and vibrancy. Hot Cherry draws on fruity bass and spacial melody to draw in a sense of laid back yet complex music. Organic sensations behind the more wholesome array of drums on offer here deliver a human element to this otherwise synthesised masterpiece.
Time for disc two, Soft and Deep is exactly that. Entering with similar tones to the previous track, a new family of melody is knitted from the basic thread. Sudden key-change in the harmonising section shows us a new dimension to the statue. Then, a deep and sinister revolution occurs as a snaking synth spews a thinly traced line of intent over the surface. New drums, quick and full of assertive force, fill the spaces with a franticness which captures the listener and pulls us in. Just as quickly as it took over, it fades away again to revel the initial phrase of dreamy progression. It's not for long however as the music soon builds up into the dark-side for us once again. This time it draws on even more variations to the introspective murk than before.
Even more smoothness is rolled out for us with the next number. A fully baked cake of melody with thick chordy cream layers the initial section. A static mechanical sound like a printer adjusting its heads begins to spark a clear rhythm. This is replaced by electro drums fairly early on, and as the bass and melody sandwich the progression, that whirring sound appears to bring everything to a peak. Where there is a peak, there is a trough and it's not spared this time. We're dropped down to minimal beats and quirky melody that bounces on variously placed fulcra while the energy of the tempo remains static, in the shadows. It slowly gathers momentum once more, and with a few false starts, the track builds up to its previous higher energetic state. It is a teaser of a track,and with a title such as Spanking For Pleasure, I'm not exactly surprised.
As we reach the final side of this collectable twin vinyl set, it's Report Now that starts the party. An urgent drum-beat begins on a steady rhythm, then breathy sounds mixed with synthesised tones swell from the twisting sonics. New pounding bass-drum throws in a heavy beat and in pursuit are whistling waves of spiral forming melody. Metallic tingles reverberate through the mists like pin-points of brilliant light while the surrounding rock-faces and clumps of woodland continue to project haunting shadows over the path. Alien sound technology beams with sudden intention, and as the saucers mass over-head the music cranks up with a pulsing metallic bass. Ever-while the harmonics and rhythmic progressions continue on their stoic journey.
Next up, a much lighter sound shines forth. Delicately placed drums dance over a slowly walking melody. Bell like and contained within a scope of bubbling dreams, the track grows gradually as more energy is infused with its nature. Crashing drums in distant places echo through the more imminent sonics that create forward facing explorations into rhythm and key. Doom at the Dorm perhaps nods towards university life, where independent young people no-doubt get themselves into all kinds of unwanted mishaps. Being in charge of a group of young adults and responsible for their ultimate well-being is not a shy job.
The album ends on Dare You Play? It's a challenge to even the best of us to put away the guitar music and discover what the world of electronica has in store for you. And those who already understand the reasons why electro is so good to listen to, it asks us to take a moment to enjoy a time honoured delve into the well of sonic history.
These are a really underground label, you'll need to keep an eye open for the records when they appear. Start now by following Galaxiid Records on Soundcloud
From the author of The Electro Review: 575365 365 Haiku and Senryu. Get yours while you're here. Thanks!
Also, you may be interested in reading: Computer Music: Electronica, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence by Zahra M.M.A. Sadiq
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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