Almost movie soundtrack clean and borderline pretentiously sweeping.
Middle eastern voices take you out to the desert – it’s a night time ops thing and there’s a bit of cold industrial gnarl alright but it’s deeply bedded in, somewhere out of reach.
‘Telane’ gears up promisingly to a moody, heads down, off kilter, post-industrial, robotic 129bpm funk but those fuckin’ Vangelis, sweeping cinema pads kick in again and put the dampers on it just as it’s starting to crank.
Heard this ‘Miasma’ tune on one of Mumdance’s NTS shows and tracked the EP down. One of Beneath’s labels. Bit of a deep Purple drank/screwed late night cruising vibe, along empty, glistening streets after the rain. Tempos are creeping even slower.
I don’t often dip my toe in the IDM pond these days (and I normally run a mile when faced by enormous discographies/back catalogues and business like release schedules of the likes of Madrid’s own Semantica here…) but this EP from the Spanish DJ veteran seemed to shine with a veneer of class and crystalline focus that makes it pretty captivating. It drifts and judders simultaneously, not exactly weightless or lost in zero gravity (except at the end maybe, on the appropriately titled ‘Exhale and Expand’) but with an absence of stress and strain. That doesn’t make it too innocuous or blank either – there’s some intensity and pressure on ‘Acceptance’ and particularly ‘Edges of Mortality’ with its shards of paranoia.
1. Mumdance & Logos: FFS/BMT (Different Circles)
2. Pinch & Mumdance: Strobe Light/Control (Tectonic)
3. NKC: Tincture (Her)
4. Deapmash: Halcyon VIP (Leisure System)
5. N1L: Ikea Zen EP (UIQ)
Been getting deep into this all this Grey Area business lately.
Plenty to explore if you haven’t already. And note the new rules of the game; a lot of it in 3/4 time signature, all phasing polyrhythms, long slow release pressure builds, some of it keyed in precisely to 127.51bpm (don’t ask me why?), most at 85/170bpm.
Sadly for me, most of my music listening these days is done in my single cab pick-up on long boring commutes, but having a new monster sub-woofer put in recently (under my seat, the only space for it) has totally transformed the experience. It’s now a monstrous, enclosed bass chamber! and all this Grey Area stuff seems made for it. Actually turns my drives into a full on psychedelic trips, where I float at high speed on this magic carpet of sub bass while the tracks undulate and progress like the contours and camber of the motorway. Probably more dangerous than drink driving heh, but it’s even better driving home at night.
Can’t get enough of this tune. Defies classification really, despite being tucked on the end of an industrial techno 12″. Definitely points the way to somewhere new I feel. Austere, haunting, and with big low end for the sound systems. Once again “moving in several directions at once”! (Fast tempo but somehow adrift on katabatic winds?)
Aquarian massively on point again and he’s upped the bass, yet again, bigtime. Seems to do it everytime. First listen you think ‘ho-hum’, all a bit techno formalist, but then you hear his signature mastery of teasing out the build and tension and it’s really on the breakdown and second drop at the 5:00+ mark that the track lights up and reaches full dancefloor velocity; the wicked, totally infectious, chopped breakbeat shuffle that he’s so good at. Minimal ingredients, maximal results.
I’d pretty much forgotten all about the original Zhark Recordings (and overlooked many a tune having now gone back and checked the back-catalogue). Still heads down, ploughing their furrow. Quality murky broken beat techno-step with aircraft hangar sized spatial dynamics and vocal incantation drift and acidic squelch. It expertly builds up the arms-outstretched, backwards free-fall into the k-hole. Proper dark.
I picked up on a lot of solid gems from one of Manni Dee’s shows on Rinse back in June (recommended by our always-on-the-case ZFE of course!) most in a deep “industrial” techno vein, but it’s not so much the category that matters, more the avalanche boom and thud of the huge warehouse reverbs applied to the low end and kicks that releases the oppressive tonnage onto the dancefloor (real or imagined). The syncopated broken beats, fuzz ‘n’ grind and paranoid trill of “Scent of Decline” is my personal fave here, but also feeling the breakbeat combo on “Rumination”.
Props to Energy Flash and cohort for digging out a fine long read on the early ’90s Roman techno scene, (I would never have found that myself). All the heads quoted seem to keep it humble and being a fan of that sound/era it’s refreshing to read a historic appraisal that doesn’t ultimately veer into hyperbole and making the balanced conclusion that there was no legacy (and why should there always be one after all?) – it was just the time and place, “a style generated by a specific period, by a limited number of people.”
Inspired by the above, I pulled out a 1997 (maybe ’98?) issue of the French techno ‘zine L’ultime Atome from my archives and scanned up two long(ish) interviews here with lynchpins Marco Passarani and the brothers Fabrizio & Marco D’Arcangelo. For French speakers only (and Discogs nerds), sorry people.
(Note aside: Lory D’s new album….don’t even go there).
Passarani P1 / Passarani P2 / Passarani P3
D’Arcangelo P1 / D’Arcangelo P2