TBR: 15th December
Microtonal music is something of the modern age, now with digital technology we can mathematically tune instruments to miniscule yet resonant fractions of the traditional musical scale. Called colundi, this musical style has been pioneered by a handful of sound scientists who are passionate about experimentation and pushing the boundaries of musical theory.
Finnish waveform wizard Aleksi Perälä has been a fundamental driving player in the colundi circuit, famously utilising the sound for his array of releases. The new long play release is no different, once again the mysterious and novel world of the musical microcosm is revealed and it shows us even more directions and modes of composition that blow the mind.
With non descriptive track names, ranging from Gblft1740065-74, the music is perhaps left untainted by the perceptions of the composer, leaving a blank slate for our imagination to put sound to picture and sensation. They also give a hint of the artistic and technical nature of what has been produced. What is produced, however, is a pleasurable surge through pacey and appreciative rhythms and harmonised melodies.
A techno feel dresses the bare bones which are knitted together by electro style simplistic but intense drum loops. Synth tones undulate and coalesce in serpentine motions giving a layer of magical anticipation over an otherwise happy and motivated beat. Party experiments like this always go down well in rooms full of people, non invasive but sonically interesting lay-downs drip with character and swagger.
Playful synthesiser expressions drizzle in gluey and multi-jointed slinky manoeuvres while a well balanced bass and treble section rotate in ever steady dances, which gracefully adjust with each throw of passes as the sun moves from one side to the other. Some fascinating sounds mix in with fun and enchanting upbeat dance music, producing a rendition of the classic formula with more than a dash of extra spirit from the realms of eclectic sound production.
TBR: Jan 19th
Renowned for bringing a mystical and ethereal edge to the early dubstep scene, Oliver Jones aka DJ Skream has established himself as a world player in the field of music production and performance. Famed in South London and earmarked around the world as one to watch, the Fabriclive 96 mashup sets it in stone that Skream means business.
Recent explorations of techno and house have made their mark on this pioneering DJ's choices for this release, a smooth and rounded edge brings the centre fold for this astonishing moment in a career full of leaps and bounds. A coffee shop fill from a warm woodwind or brass melody soon accompanied by voice and orchestral flow begins this crafted music journey. A clappy rhythm adds to the mix just before the melody smooths out to form a repetitious loop of jumpy and fun notations.
The first track is a symbiosis of three artists put together. Ashrams [Technicolor] is produced by Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar and Shabaka Hutchins. It's a funky groove fest that opens the album well building up and fading out to reveal Bufiman with Peace Moves. This down-town jive number uses deep percussions and tribal echoes to create a moving and synthetic rhythmic feast. Psychedelic scales wash the beat in awkward and enjoyable flurries of prompting jostles and the relentless bass and percussive melody pound through in stable forms.
Seamless boundaries bring Sounds of a Different Colour by James Burton into the mix. A bass led dancing tune with sound effects and interesting fills takes the edge from the intense musical pressures just unleashed, however the driving force still pushes onward into further realms of the floor. A shift in focus brings a chiming bottle top melody onto the turntable, it hovers around to its own simple backdrop before being joined by further instalments of reverberating synthetic bass.
Alexkid and Yonqui takes the pace to a slightly higher level, a tempo shift with faster breaks and a more sustaining melody section adds energy to the bubbling pot. The minimalistic sensations from the churning looped main body of the track is joined by relatively short lived surges of intensity, brought along in short succession in various forms. Jack the Bass by John Rundell finds its way into the album at this point, a simple flip across from one pulsing beat to another creates a professional cut.
An Ode To Mr. Smith marks the first track by the author of this album. Fun and house inspired beats waver and bounce from fast paced light hearted drums. The party is in full swing at this point in the Fabriclive 96 release. A high spirited infusion of musical styles gather and work together to bring good times to the living space. Untitled B2 by Santos Rodriguez is labelled [cosmic], and it has a sense of lift off with the rate of the rhythms which mix and merge over each other, enjoying the flow of various technical effects.
Floorpan bring Made Up My Mind, a classic floor filling high energy track, one that seems to have been built up to from this point. At the midway mark in the album, it feels great to have an uplifting and easy to enjoy track at this point. Radio Slave are visited with Screaming Hands straight after this high contrast track, topping off the energy for the moment with more bouncing and exciting rhythms and sound. Thumping digital bass and gelatinous scoring merge in a fun and invigorating ambient smile along. A high point in the CD, a culmination of previous energies and continual progressions to this moment.
MZ by Sascha Funke piles on with a frantic double time bass driven riff that insists and pounds with an urgent pitch wavering certainty. The dancing quality is extremely high, a simple 2 step beat meets a more diverse loop of patterns and melody. It breaks to reveal smooth and airate vibes from a skyward direction, joined by astrid compositions of curious sound. Greg Venezia lays down Lies which teeters the energy off to one side just a little, allowing space to breath and readjust your collar. Melody heavy and with a catchy beat, the party has a depth beyond the four four rhythms.
A heady bass and melody fuelled surge enters with Steve Murphy's They Are Controlled. A heavy synth and an upbeat melody entwine alongside the punchy and resounding drum loops. Tidal flows of sonic swirling each step around the central beat in whirligig motions and spacebound renditions. A nineties classic is pulled from the bag in the penultimate number, LA Synthesis return with their landmark Agraphobia. This original mix still sounds sleek and comparable to the other more modern servings, a show of hands as to the competency of these early pioneers.
To finish the CD, Skream adds one more number by himself, a drawn out beat and tune meld which takes the ride down to the ground level bit by bit over a restful and mindful drill over the soul of this party album. It feels like we have gotten to know him, just a bit, by admiring the skill within the flow of piece after piece. By appreciating what we know is good, we can identify with the DJ on a level which transcends the original artist. A shared enjoyment is better than something enjoyed alone.
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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