Show Me That Light EP
TBR: 12th December
The newest member of the Clergy music label Kwartz makes a stand after many years of determined music making. The time spent has fine-tuned his sound into a unique and memorable edge which has become synonymous with the scene. Three unique tracks with a Cleric remix make up the release, and the Vocal Tool at the end is a unique identifier. It's a DJ's world and it's great to see artists sharing their screwdrivers.
It opens with a deep bass driven thud full of synth filling and quick stepping rhythm. Tubular undertones raise in volume and the drums expand to make space for fiery hats and shakers . The pace is set from the start and it only gets more intense as the bars roll past at a frantic speed. Head bopping groove with resonant drumming grabs the attention and focuses it on the stereo. New sounds emerge from the amalgam to add exquisite new edges to the frothy mixture of beats. Robotic and futuristic, the industrial quality of the sound is unmistakable. Contortion is extremely fun and morish, with little melody but an awesome beat, there's only one thing for it, dancing.
New percussive instruments roll up beside the first number to reveal track two. Reload pushes the boundary of the bass drum over the line and with a stodgy sound, provides a thumping dance beat. Heavy and deep, the sensation is one of urgency. Artistic cymbals and sound effects spring in the odd timings interwoven through the steady bass drum to move the track in a snaking path of agile sleekness. Once more, rhythm makes up the most of the number, it's truly dance music and for people who like it high energy with almost intrusively pushed distortions.
Show Me That Light showcases vocals in a rare offering of the human touch. It begins with a bubbling bass, another iconic sound that we know to expect from this artist. Heavy and grabby beats which dig up the ground where we stand thunder across the stereo spectrum. Eerie synths with a ghostly melody begin to swirl over-head. Like clouds at night, it's difficult to resolve for the gloom however there is definite structure to wonder at in awe. Static and builds break through into snare rolls and high-pitched drones that crest on the audible range. As the hypnotic feel of the track has us truly attentive, the vocal sample begins with a highly effected female voice speaking about something spiritual. It's difficult to hear the words but we can feel them and their emotional intent.
Next is a remix of the previous track. Cleric is the head of Clergy Records and no-doubt wanted to give Kwartz a heave-ho on the ropes to truly get him started on the label. Taking the initial track and stripping it down into a cleaner feel, the bass still carries the same pace and composition. The fast double step with a smashing cymbal and snare riff over the top makes for a high energy dance tune. With less effects but just as much punch, the sharper sounds of the remix provide more space for the mind to fill in the gaps.
Catch this Kwartz live show on Youtube
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TBR: 16th November
Berlin based electronic music label Unreel bursts into bloom with their inaugural release, Soo Good by Housemeister. This single puts the bouncy and high energy world of upbeat house music on the ticket straight away, setting the scene for plenty more party anthems to follow no doubt. Housemeister is no stranger to making music, two decades of tuneful adventures proceed him. Already with releases on labels such as Detroit Underground, Bpitch Control, and Boysnoize Records, Housemeister is more than ready to set another stone in his far reaching catalogue of work. By remaining fresh and with an open mind, this long term beat technician has evaded the bourgeois by adapting and evolving with every step taken.
It begins with a staggered drum beat and a vocal sample revolving in short bursts. A strange sensation washes over the room as the pressure slowly builds in waveform and amplitude. New drums kick in and provide a funky rhythm to dance to while the vocal-line merges with the music to become an odd yet workable sound effect. Extra intensity brings out extra percussion in the mix which drives the track forward. Simple yet densely populated with beats, this fun and sparkly number sets a great scene. Synthesisers replace the voice to send the track into a heads down foot stomping frenzy of dancing. They come back just as the energy requires it.
The two B-side tracks take the initial mix and work on it to bring out new variations of flow and energy. The T.Raumschmiere Remix is the first of the two. It produces straight away with fruity and distorted wobbles that begin the beat. A dirty drum kicks in regular throbs and a robotic version of the “Soo Good” vocal sample butters the track with a layer of cool. This techno orientated version of the track has a futuristic feel and brings in subtle energies of old fashioned technology. Not Soo Good makes the final number on this release. It pushes the track in the opposite direction to the previous B-side offering. Technically the same track again, only with a much more frantic sounding drum-beat with treble reigning on the production, another high energy dancer for yet another different crowd. Perhaps these last two tracks are more experimental however they feel more fun to me. Then again, maybe I needed to hear the original before I could make that judgement?
Enjoy this Housemeister live show on Youtube
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Sounds Of SUB:STANCE
TBR: 23rd November
Five years have flown by since Scuba closed the book on his seemingly eternal SUB:STANCE party. The fusion of UK dubstep and Berlin techno brought many names and faces together to enjoy the benefits of both scenes. Good times with good people leave good memories so it truly is high time for a SUB:STANCE release to commemorate those pleasant days. Sometimes our artistic children grow up and leave home, finding a place in someone else's project or enjoying a merry retirement in the knowledge of a job well done. When we go round to visit, we're reminded of those times when life was younger and when we hadn't dreamed of today's motivations. This huge album of almost thirty tracks brings together all the best bits that didn't get a major showing the first time around. Either editor's cuts or vinyl only material, this record ensures that everyone gets their name on a freshly cooked pie.
Matty G with 50,0000 Watts gives us massive intro made of a heavy vocal echo repeating the (almost) title of the track. A scraping metallic undertone shows us the extra side of the silence and then it's filled by a surging bass and drum rhythm. A tribal dancing energy pounds through the mix like a stampede, melodic chimes and fresh samples keep everything interesting. Fat injections of wobbling bass craft huge runways for our focus to pin down the music. A thicker treble pushes us like a roller as the next track strikes the match. More heavy bassline fills the bottom end while psychedelic and head stroking subtle waves swirl above. Echoing drums with far stretched reverb gives Titan Rain by Vex'd a sludgy feel that's dosed with curious magic. 2nd II None adapt the flow to a sensual dreamy feel before chiming in with a tropical sounding percussive melody. This Peverelist Remix of Waterfallz gives us a shiny and upbeat dip into crystalline waters.
After a lengthy relaxing bathe in the sounds of 2nd II None, a snappy drum kick-starts us back into motion. Heavy cymbals bounce in after a couple of bars which are soon joined by even more beats. It builds us up with a drum roll before the studio magic breaks down the sound to reveal a day-glow bassline that moves up and down in easily manageable loops. It's joined by more drums and the dance number really gets going. Trevino's Derelict makes a meal of all the right ingredients for a high energy floor-filler. Scuba himself takes the helm for the next section. Ripchord begins with an oddly formed rhythm, quick and bipolar. It's given a thread through the middle by a bongo edge which fits everything together. Then a quick cymbal hat begins to spell out the basics while the sounds revolve and flow around the tempo. Mysterious tones on a worming synth craft a spacey journey through the sky while we stamp our feet to the beat on the dance-floor below. Skream takes on the slightly eerie sensation for Ain't It Cold? A chilly breeze snakes through the fast paced percussion while a subtle bass gradually builds into a moving fence of neatly sectioned sound.
Another tribal beat-fest shimmers with hypnotic energy as Shackleton reveals Torn Skin. A strange vocal sample of seemingly nonsensical syllables creates a uniquely organic rhythm which gives way to maniac drumming on the distinctly electronic kit. The track explores the effects of key and tone on the repeating drum which is composed well enough to be exciting on its own. Toasty's Skinny takes a dive into a dreamy mist of quenching rhythm and synthesiser. Keys shine in luminous bursts which when joined by friendly voice recordings make a showing of fantasy. The track is skinny in a way, with only a few elements to the mix they are however so well made that there is plenty of music to enjoy. Darkest Red by Appleblim cuts the sound down to a solitary bass drum which, with precision accuracy, begins the tempo of the track. It's joined by cosmic sound effects that sneak in and out of the stereo landscape which new drums add layer and clarity to the catchy beat. Dirty bass with computer effected tones give a digital quality to the mix that has had enough human intervention to remain organic despite its synthesised nature.
More rhythmically psychedelic tones reverberate round a central dancing point for the next number. Analogue sounding oscillations merge with keystrokes that build in intensity over the forthcoming bars. Progressive and atmospheric, Vicodin by Instra:mental forms into a glowing mass of subtle waves and contained beats which evolve into ever growing directions. Perhaps time for a breather, a gloomy light and slowed down mechanics makes this one something of a fresh start. Scuba makes another appearance on this multiple artist record to give us Eject. It begins with a huge trill synth tone which wakes us up from the realms of dream which we had been led into by the previous track. Warm synth chords mingle with bass tones and drum to begin a steady march back to the dance-floor. It's still got a slowness and a relaxed pace which makes a difference however the individual sounds are so full of life that the music contains the same energy as a faster number. It feels like the tempo speeds up, as the drum-breaks bring in new energy, subtle shifts in the composition raise the flame even more.
Melody comes back in a big way for Mercury Dub by TRG. Tones on the keys and with classical instruments combine to give a wholesome a full-bodied sound. Clear bass drum kicks in with an attitude that makes us listen to it. Turned up in the mix, we're allowed to hear the full range of harmonics in each thud. The high energy rhythm begins to shudder back into the music after a fairly long stretch of dream side-lining into the realms of the more experimental and sound discovery areas of the record. Long builds and continual evolution of sonic pressure gives the Vex'd Remix of Search and Destroy's Wavescape a direction and a path which it encourages the whole house to follow. Heavy basslines which curve in predictable melodics give this a solid sensation of something on the horizon. Vocal sample snaps us to attention and a quick synth midrange tone keys a fast moving melody in short bursts. Forgiven by Addison Groove emerges from the pits with amplitude and strength. Unison melodies give a dose of motivation and party energy while the atmosphere knits itself a brightly coloured new sweater. The sounds of passing engineering give the track a 3D quality which helps to bring our mental image of the music together.
Feeling That I Know So Well by Sepalcure makes an entrance with a warm distortion like old vinyl or distant rain outside. Summertime sensations with degraded vocals and sunny keys bring a mirage of sound which builds to form a unique and interesting structure. Trumpets ring out the sound of new light when all of a sudden an extra layer of rhythm brings in a rolling wave of motion. Sirens wail and bass drums bash out a new sensation. Manic effects bring out a true emergency of sound which once it has ensured we are all listening, is replaced by a frantic and upbeat bassline. Rolling drums and fast-stepping melodics in the rhythm makes this a requestable and repeatable offering. Syn Chron by Boddika takes us on a journey through frenzied rhythms and sumptuous synthesiser sounds. Crafty drumming opens Schmuck by Roska. Retro bouncing keys give an arcade feel to the wobbling rhythms, steady yet oddly jointed. New drums give a more solid line of thought to the sound, while heady and distant breath notes swoop overhead. Wooden sounding drums allow for a warming up within the corridors of unjustly forgotten technology.
Bouncing two-step drums kick in to make the energy transparent. This next one is easy to dance to, a temperate bass drum with bouncing percussion mixes with repeating bass to give a solid bed for what comes next. Sky high tones drift like flocks of long-tailed birds through the canopy of tall trees, made up by the far reaching rhythm behind them. Tracer by the returning Trevino brings that classic bass line feel to some more dreamy and well made sonic imagery. Winding Shott brings out an Eastern sounding drum and chime combination. Untold begins like a clock, telling us it's midday. Second hand ticks and melodic bells build on their well timed passages until a steady drum-fill breaks open the bubbles. A new bass tone with a deeper sounding clang makes this second act much more magnetic. Roaring snare-drum rolls and high pressure tones make this number high energy and room enhancing. The alternative version of Live Dawn by Shackleton comes next. More trademark vocal samples build the basis for up in the air drumming and thrusting bass that grabs your feet. Around half way a twinkling synthesiser tone builds on the tower of sound whose foundations are truly laid. It makes way for swirling and windswept sounds to pull us deep into the mix.
Vex'd join forces with Search and Destroy for End of Line. This multidisciplinary action enters with a heavy synth tone that shakes the ground. Distorted vocals increase the pressure before a frantic drumbeat begins to surge. Retro bass drum with high energy snare reinvigorate the senses and pull us into gear for hard partying. Things slow down to a cool swagger as the next number refreshes the scene. A smooth drum with emotive female vocals build into a steady slow dance with finger clicks and oceanic cymbal crashes. The 808 Bass by Matty G is all about the rhythm and its massive mixing potential. Pop that P by Jon Convex is next. A steady upbeat bass bangs out a fast and energetic rhythm. Vocals add a layer of humanity as catchy percussion builds to roll out the carpet. Repeating phrases sampled and looped give a dancing feel while varying directions of bass and synthesiser in the underground make each bar something unique. Untold by Rainbow Dell follows. A heavy synthesiser breaks open with bells and clamour. It soon fades to a mysterious tone that slowly grows into a haunting and childlike melody. Drums add a layer of danceability which tops the track with a simple yet vital finishing touch.
New drums make way for an injection of the standard dance-floor pleasing sounds we need on any techno album. Never mind how experimental we want to be, the people who buy the music and go to the shows want what they pay for. This is no different, each track takes a unique standing point on the direction taken by SUB:STANCE over the years however they all remain within the boundaries of the brand's focus. The final couple of offerings finish the album on a dance-floor happy high which ensures we leave with a great impression and want to come back again.
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TBR: 22nd November
Long term UK music scene dance-floor mechanics Joe Farr and Will Brown decided to put their heads together and form musical outlet Brecon. Their Cairn EP was so well received, a whole list of big name artists queued up to remix their favourite tracks from the release. With influences stretching back for years that include early doors techno and house plus grimy dubstep and UK garage, Brecon pull the whole club together from every room to enjoy their breed of electronic beats and melody.
For the first offering, Om Unit make an impact on Scarp. Heavenly piano and string melodics swerve down from the distant sky, and riding on these come digital effects and bass tones which spread the sound out across the horizon. Rhythm begins to pump in a headstrong pulse of snare and hat with tampered bass drum keeping everything together. Twisting compositions and swaying pressures on the waveform bring out all kinds of fascinating journeys within the continual dance-floor filling number.
A string arpeggio with warm distortion builds the initial phases of the second track. Disjointed rhythms crackle and spill as the complex drums assemble over formulated timings. Wavering metallic synthesiser flows underneath the bouncing and gradually predictable rhythm. A bubbling bass and synth compression makes a heady space for whistling melodies to begin an ascent. This Max Cooper remix of Scattered flows like an ice-cube on a puddle, swooping from one end to the other, floating on surface tension and slight pressures from external forces.
Subside is remixed by Tenebre. This third track builds on the swelling intensity left behind by Max Cooper's rendition by ringing out with more distortion and bass. A crunchy drum riff pounds its weight down in manicured pulsations while a spacey melody begins to spell out the top-side. Repeating trills on the keys in the treble section add a spark of the psychedelic, which has been creeping around in the corners since the beginning of the record. Now a massive hypnotic rhythm builds from the ground up in this frantic number.
To finish this diverse and far reaching four track remix EP, a floor-filling stomper makes the final mix. Quick stepping bass drum with a tapping hi-hat give a sensation of high energy while thrusting bass tones give a sense of impending urgency. An alarm style melody begins to grow from somewhere in the centre of the mix and as it reaches a point where we can tell its breathy voice from the other mysterious sounds in there, it's given its own podium with harmonising notes and a new found drive in the percussion. Nicolas Bougaïeff makes Half Life his own with this minimal yet people pleasing techno focussed light on this classic production.
Watch Scarp from Cairn EP by Brecon on Youtube
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TBR: 30th November
Life is one big party for London music collective GETME! Their record label, radio network, and events management bring everything together so everyone can enjoy. Good music, a quality atmosphere, and a regular media outlet to keep people up-to-date. Since being founded by Lixo himself back in 2006, almost twenty releases fly behind this kite of service like uniquely adorned ribbons and flags. Now the collective stand aside to let Lixo lay one down from his own laboratory of musical experimentation. Cicada EP explores electronic sounds with the added use of studio worked vocals to give a human feel to the digital landscape.
It starts with the sounds of electronic feedback and a drum testing it's capabilities. Soon a rhythmic pulsing cymbal adds a layer of percussion, it's form pushed through a weave of tone as the mixing makes its magic. Wein is a smooth and easy going number, it builds gradually and assuredly, every few revolutions of the record bringing with them a new layer of flow and rhythm that each add something new to the number. The vocal additions sprinkle the sides like blankets of humanity while melodics and drums continue their happy feeling dancing patterns. I can feel The Prodigy in the breakdown, just before the pressure builds to climax the tune.
Whistler enters with another upbeat tempo. Drums and hats combine to roll out a slightly funky beat that is soon joined by, you guessed it, a whistling synth. It is a good melody and the cosmic reverberations on the keys make interesting listening. Again, the mood is set for good and we can sit back to enjoy the piece. More rhythm in the form of amplitude forms a breaking point for the track to evolve. A bass tone begins to craft a distant journey that gradually gets nearer as we continue to listen. The resolution on the bass under score increases and we get to hear a new waveform much closer to us.
Next up is a curious beat, it sounds disjointed and angular to itself however the tempo is absolutely fine. Then a wobbling synthesiser begins to stroke the melody in slow and voluptuous tones. Bass and treble combine to fill the track with a heavy abstract sound. Looping voice melodics spin around on a tight curve while the odd yet regular beats and notes continue on their bifurcate journey. Dromer is more experimental however the atmosphere remains on the positive side with each bar made to sound great despite its unusual structures.
A plucked string sound with heavy distortion builds like mysterious topology through the ambient yet subtly alert fourth number. Wailing notes with distant vocal samples make way for heady drums which keep us moving. Nicely worked atmospheres creep around in dreamy dazes while the track manages to remain awake with continual movement. If we listen, there's actually a lot going on. It does inspire calm though. Phoxi has an oceanic quality, powerful yet controlled by forces greater than itself. Deep synths and high energy drums give the holistic sense of enjoyment.
The whole EP sits comfortably in the middle of the field where everyone can enjoy it. Without going over the top with heavy dance inspiring grooves and never being shy of interesting filling material to keep the beats engaging, it works well to remain accessible yet uniquely entertaining.
You can find Lixo on iTunes
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DFFDL & Scenic Recovery
Chemical Imbalance Records
Eclectic underground cassette release label Chemical Imbalance always delve into mysterious waters and uncover superb and sought-after treasures for the electronic sound art scene. Their flavour of crafted and controlled distortions, ambient drone, and splendid fly-bys from space-age technology makes an ideal helipad for this Chinook of a release. Two fifteen minute escapades into the realms of sonic sculpture elevate both DFFDL and Scenic Recovery into the world of collectable music. It's almost Summer in Australia, and as we in Europe and the USA fetch our scarves and gloves, DFFDL and Scenic Recovery can bask in the grace of the Sun and the knowledge of a well deserved landmark title. Featuring an amazing, non-conformist image by artist Brooke Van Der Linden, the Melbourne produced release is limited to 30 cassettes and of course unlimited digital downloads.
Focus begins with a roaring wave like a cybernetic ocean. Strange digitisations of swell and current boil around in an amplitude hungry froth, soon giving way to angelic whistle-chimes which, with polyphonic qualities, span the horizon like growing flocks of birds launching from the watery surface. What seems like a never ending barrage of bustling life drills through the illusory notion of beginning and end and while the sound-fare continues on, new passages of waveform begin to sneak in through the amalgam of white-noise. Subtle shifts in tonal sway bring slight adjustments to directions within the piece, and as focus may imply, the resolution of the sound becomes increasingly vibrant. Formulations of synthesised shrill and pitch swerve and mingle in digital and almost organic sounding helices of subtle melodics. While remaining extremely drone ambient with drawn out passages which are never in a hurry to evolve, the shifting and gradual moving around of the entire work manages to keep the piece in a workable and enjoyable progression. Never lingering but not shy of thoroughly exploring each corner of the soundsphere these vocalisations of technology create for us, we have a real mental and sonic map of a vast area of expanding destinations.
The Scenic Recovery track breaks open like a bottle of lamps, each one rising through the opening as if luminous bubbles lighter that air. Blank Paper Spirit perhaps encapsulates the potential energy of a blank sheet of paper when in the hands of a creator such as Scenic Recovery. Admiring the mysterious void of ideas which hooks and anchors onto the desire to be expressed when presented with such a tool for thought, the music spans into directions adjacent to one another forming a three dimensional field of view within sound. Horn like drones with drum sounds which resonate and crumble away as the time lapsed reverberations melt into each other release tensions and shrinking pitches that creep in the undergrowth. This bubbling mass of sound begins to warm up and as gurgles and steam rise from its depths, breaking points on the surface tension reveal new aromas of melded ingredients. It's heavy stuff, with brutal facias of soft noise breaking the view into portions of labyrinthed structure, it reminds me a lot of Park Hill in Sheffield. It's ironic in a way that the cover art shows a tranquil country scene.
Music for thinking to, for drinking tea and musing on the cosmos, or simply something to keep you focused on more important things, this half hour of escapist anthems brings us to new places inside our own minds. Drifting notes and wavering assemblies of various tones allow us to dream away our moments with a fanfare of lucid reality. Is it the future, is it the distant past? Is it right now just a moment away from the horizon?
Split from Chemical Imbalance Records is available on Bandcamp
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Death Of The Ego
TBR: 2nd November
Exploring the vibe left in the wake of Squarepusher's epic post-techno work, Colin Mawson pushes his ego to one side and allows the nature of his talent to really push through. Taking jazz influenced melody and groove with ambient electronica as the backbone, this varied diet of ingredients provides a wash of musical capability. I wonder how much of Colin Mawson made it onto this record and how much of it is the spirit of the scene which of course possesses all who take part in it?
Death of the Ego opens with the title track. A piercing and haunting piano melody sprawls out over the silent mountains. It gathers speed like a gracefully climbing swan, and then settles into lofty buoyancy somewhere just above our heads. Subtle noises sprinkle the backdrop with wanderings of mindfulness while the melody runs through disjointed scales and unisons which dapple like sundrops on forest floors. Shrill yet perfectly mixed tones creep around the top as if they were watching eyes, peaceful but sentient none the less.
Track two revolves and shows a new side of this musical coin. Funky basslines curb the flowing dream sensations and give a platform for swish drumming to melodically play with the metalwork and snare. Chords on the strings with plucked intonations swerve from side to side around the steady beat. Late bar atmospheres build from the floor upwards as the softly distorted guitar and bass jam together in expertly composed frills of sound. Obfuscate progresses really well, as the melody builds so does the music. New sounds join the evolving tones like choral birds while the melody pushes further into the realms of sky.
Enough Rope? Takes a turn into a more gloomy corridor. Echoic drumming with distorted vinyl crackle builds a mattress for oddly harmonised notes to twinkle like distant lights. As the glow approaches nearer, or we approach it as the case may be, resonance and resolution bring out more of the illuminatory semblances. Soon an electric guitar crashes down and with perfectly poised power chords, sets the piece on fire. A chorus perhaps, as it dwindles back into the embers and glows gently in the form of wobbling underscore.
Vocal sample with classic step drumming opens the fourth number. Synthesiser chords vibe with a guitar melody in a duet of breezy melodics. Fresh air after the exploration of the underworld in the previous offering, The Futility of Human Endeavour marks a turning point in the way things face on this album. Now with less sense of permanence, the track relaxes into a world that remembers but not forever. One day in the future, the Earth itself will be consumed by the fire of the Sun, red and furious. If we manage to find somewhere else to live, what will remain? Perhaps only digital copies and a few antiques in museums.
Cobbles takes a dreamy wander through a pianist's imagination, settling the dust from the massive journey already undertaken. Music that changes, evolves, and runs smoothly from track to track is extremely difficult to work well. Colin Mawson did this, and the best pert is that the music sounds good too. Themes from many artists creep through, with sonics reminiscent of DJs to rock bands, the distance from each side of this album is eye wrenching. It's fun and something that can be listened to while working or while sitting and relaxing with a book or with headphones. There's plenty of space to play and plenty to listen to at the same time.
Listen to and buy Death of the Ego by Colin Mawson on Bandcamp
Follow Colin Mawson on Soundcloud
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Body Mechanics EP
TBR: 16th November
San Francisco based DJ and Producer Sepehr Amilagham has worked extensively on the six track acid dance stomper which culminates his many years of performances and studio work into one vinyl offering. Mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios and adorning beautiful and captivating artwork by Nicole Ginelli, the EP reaches deep into the realms of sonic cartography. A range of influences from Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin to post-hardcore bands gives the Sepehr sound a distinctive edge.
Body Mechanics opens with the eponymous song. A fluffy oscillator beat spans out in a wavery yet stable rhythm. Drums add a new level of tempo that creates a platform for the music to stand on. As the loops roll out, new additions in the mix give extra layers and direction to the piece. Eerie and atmospheric synthesiser gives a wholesome sense of dark rooms and flashing lights. As clever and quirky drum-fills break the beats down into oddly shaped jigsaws, sounds and melodic rhythms ensure we remain gripped by the music.
The next track begins with a resonant bass drum which pulses in an ever so slightly distorted room. It's quickly joined by frantic hats which crackle and pop over the constant throb of bass. New drums give even more rhythm to the already fiery tempo while the occasional vocal sample flies from one end to the other. Befallen seems to take us down to ground level and allows us to observe the lower forces at work within the mind of this abstract yet accessible DJ.
Third up opens with a breathy synth tone which pulses in a slow and sensual flow. Drums then roll up to give a better sense of the dancing tempo and then as we're beginning to fit nicely into the pattern, the bass line spills over the side and into earshot. Bouncy and spongy beats from the frothy deep tones in the synthesiser bass line give a new flavour or enjoyability to the previous dark and scary sounding atmosphere. Velvet Dream seems to settle on the frantic and minimal sounds of synth tones and subtle drum for a fair distance, it's a glorious texture and worth spending time with.
We turn the disk over to reveal the three B side tracks which are actually just as fun and danceable as the previous ones. Roses and Thorns begins with a bouncy quick stepping bass beat on the synthesiser which is quickly dressed by even faster drumming. As amplitudes increase and pressures rise, the sludgy quality of the synth bass is turned up while the drums begin a quick march, continually filled by inner breaks.
Spooky and extra-terrestrial sounding tones make the intro for the new number. Frantik enters with an industrial yet space-age retro sound that when given the right drums creates a deep dancing atmosphere. Sonic samples of distorted voice sprinkled here and there give a flavour of the organic while tone shifting and effects push the music from one side to the other. Non-complex yet full of listenable elements, the track billows in digital winds propelled by bass and resonant tones.
Along with catchy 303 Diaries, the entire record fits nicely in dancehall repertoires and in home collections alike. We can enjoy the album as it is or find ways of mixing it in with other things. Surely many DJs can't wait to get their hands on a copy of this funky and atmospheric blast from the digital past. Although made today with the technology at hand, it tips the hat many times in the direction of the early pioneers who fiddled with analogue oscillators and looping drum machines to make their new sounding music.
Listen to I Just on this video, from earlier in 2018.
Locked Groove Records
TBR: 2nd November
Following on from the dual artist release from earlier this year, in which Locked Groove worked with Inner Shades, Oscillate turns up the voltage and pushes the sound frequencies further. Testing the unique style that Locked Groove has crafted over the years, sticking to the system yet tweaking all components allows the artist to increase his level of distinction. This two-tracker takes long bows in the direction of influences and also creates a continual sound brand that's growing on all of us.
Straight away the music brings in a hard and quick rhythm, it's gritty with pushed boundaries teetering on the edge of the red zone. New waves of tempo slide in gracefully and a synth tone pulses into amplitude, bringing with it a dancing pressure that pulls us in. Sweeping melody of simple notations revolves in a looping build that along with drums and the pulse-synth bring an atmosphere of enjoyable mystery. Oscillate seems to want us to physically express ourselves in what ever way possible and it gives us the perfect soundtrack for it.
Time Travel does seem to take us back in time with its introduction. What has been a stable back-bone for electronic music since its conception in the mid-twentieth century has been the drum and tone. Sounds that could have been made in the early days make a re-appearance for a retro inspired beat. Soon though, modern technology makes itself known with inserts of studio wizardry and know-how which creates a driving and slightly sinister sounding track. Then some angelic voice synths begin to gently chant in slow drawn out breaths while a garbled speech sound builds gradually from beneath.
It's an interesting two track release with plenty of sounds resulting in twelve good minutes of well-made dance worthy electronic and experimental music.
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Check out this video podcast of a Locked Groove appearance on the radio
Cannibals At Sea EP
TBR: 26th October
Multi-faceted Kayla Painter extends her musicality even further with this stunning five track extended play. Known for her in depth electronic work with elements of her English Bristol scene and Fijian dual heritage, Cannibals At Sea explores the next level on from where she left off. The deep and interesting character of Kayla Painter’s sound gets even more intriguing as this quintet of quality plays out. While digging up the bones of Fiji’s cannibalistic past and tying into various folklore surrounding the islands in the Pacific, this work brings a mysterious and exotic destination to temperate Britain.
Sentimental Swagger begins as a breezy tone, low and wood flavoured, and its then joined by polyphonic additions which adjust in texture. Odd instructions of sound break the waves like beautiful static and as the poetry of sound spirals onward, a loose rhythm forms on the rattling tempo. Tightening its hold with each passing loop, the rope brings the track together as percussive elements start to knead everything into a homogenous piece. Pulsations of note and voice mingle with jostling beats and sampled strangeness while the sonic pressure slowly builds. Trumpeting and horns all the while sprinkle a human edge over the otherwise space-age and steam-punk ambience.
Soon a new twist brings further static infused melody to the table. More rhythmic this time, track two takes a corridor into gloomy lights and protruding angles of sound. Mechanical grindings softly spoken with percussion and ghostly wails meet in a triad of computerised yet organic feeling sway. Greeting Your Enemies perhaps has a dark and hidden sense to it, one of suspicion and of unspoken thoughts. Heady beats dominate yet without being intrusive, the backdrop of the piece remains part of the integral focus. The periphery to this is the sounds in themselves, all flattening out gently from the middle.
Sacrificial Magic has an echoing quality that tingles with cymbal taps and aerated reverb. Wistful tones meander from the ground up into spirals of phantasmagoric opulence. Harmonising vocals twist and turn around each other’s thread while additions of melodic voice plump the vocals with their passions. The male and female timbres meeting in the music allow for a sense of completeness and homely relaxation. The scene is set and while the ceremony proceeds, it’s perhaps not apparent what is intended next.
A jittery tapping rhythm breaks the quiet for the fourth track on this selection of five. It pauses in between pulses and as the loops gather momentum, new sounds gradually enter the room which remove the uneasy breaks. Breath, computerised percussion, sampled sounds, and the humanity in the mix all come dressed in costume for Eating Your Enemies. Tense and suspicious sounds revolve and repeat while ever growing in amplitude and intensity. Suddenly it crunches down into just the plain breathing and then quiet.
Kenopsia takes the tone down to relaxation once more. Sublime strings and keys combine with birdsong and voice to brisk the cobwebs away. Lush melody shines like a morning sun and as if glistening on blue tranquil Fijian waters, this Bristol based musician sinks us deep into the soul of tranquillity. Cannibals At Sea is a great EP that takes us from here to there in style, a little spicy and a little strange, the genius is in the amounts. They seem to be just right.
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Watch this video of Kayla Painter Performing a couple of earlier tracks in Bristol
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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