Unnamed Various Artists
Intergalactic Research Institute for Sound
TBR: 8th February
Berlin events hub STAUB are about to celebrate their seventh year in the party business. Putting on unique shows that harvest talent from the area plus well-known stars then billing them side-by-side, these guys have a reputation for making music work. Their ethic of non-commercialised and equal stage-shows means that lesser known acts can be given the same respect and attention as those who pull more weight. This is a great way of doing things, and as many artists are more than happy to appear regardless, the STAUB experience has become a force to be calculated. With this new release, four uniquely blended and mixed tracks garnish a silver vinyl pressing. We're not told who the artists are, leaving the music quite naked.
The music begins extremely quietly. A gust of wind rises from the depths before it translates into a static that sounds like a snare spring. Kick bass then fills the space, which after a few bars is mirrored by an even deeper and dirtier sounding beat. This doubling up of bass drum rides the digital crystalline airwaves carrying a flag of synthesiser. Ambient droning notes gently howl and spiral across the apparatus of rhythm which evolves and grows in branching manoeuvres. Extra percussion builds and adds a distinctive snappy treble to the heavy thudding, this raises a beacon which surges upwards before dissipating. The track kicks in again with a faster progression through motions not dissimilar from those before. Only this time the pace is faster and the plateaux of energy extends much further out to sea.
The next A side track begins with a melodic bass which cuddles itself in soft angular motions. Kicks and hats make an appearance, providing a fast tempo that allows the bass to sit comfortably. New sounds spill in from upturned dishes at the side, slurries of atmospheric synthesiser and vibrating rhythmic notes tingle and illuminate the surging drums. Another bending melody is threaded in, it shifts from tone to tone with an eerie and persistent drone. The drumming settles down to give the thick atmosphere room to breath. As it does so, the symphonic backdrop fades to make way for a thumping progression in the drumming. Blips and pieces stick to one another in ever changing chops of looped rhythm.
We turn it over, and are met with a piercing tone that operates over a jittery kick drum. Anxious atmospheres swirl overhead as the next layer of percussion is added. Rolling snares with a slow rapidity elevate the mood as their amplitude increases. The whistling synthesiser begins to even out into a looping melody and the drumming jump-starts itself into a new phase of persistence. A twangy bassline thumps through with spongy riffs pushing the rhythm into the air. Matching drums and angular momentum in the shifting percussion reveals a multi-dimensional rhythm-fest backed up by drawn out and singing harmonising tones.
The final track begins with a sludgy bass which drops tones into a rhythmic melody. A deep and resonant kick drum props and presses as the progression quickens the scales to fit a double time framework. Heavy bass licks stomp the sections in place as a vocal starts. Disintegrated phonics spliced across the digital effects processor turn the words into abstract instrumentation. This is pulled aside and lifted up by a staggered synthesiser which thrusts rhythmic tones through the middle. Heavy dance inspiring notes plunge the motive into a frantic movement instruction as the vocal-line begins again with rhythmic spoken word.
For those who get the digital version, there are some bonuses for you. You'll find the forth track again as an instrumental plus four loop structures for your own mixing pleasure. This gift to the community will no-doubt result in versions of these beats turning up in all kinds of areas.
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Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.