Pangaea – In Drum Play
Hessle Audio head honcho Pangaea comes through with his eagerly anticipated album In Drum Play. Widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest exponents of techno alongside fellow label head Pearson Sound, this second full length LP comprises a more sophisticated take on the genre compared to 2012’s ‘Release’. The album is diverse as it is impressive, featuring peak-times club bangers such as ‘Rotor Soap’ and ‘One by One’, as well as more introspective, brooding tracks such as ‘Mutual Exchange’. A further addition to Hessle’s consistently fantastic back catalogue, In Drum Play rightly takes its position as our record of the week.
Ichisan – Metamundus
Slovenian born Igor Skafar begin his career as a photographer before his passion for music shone through and he started playing guitar for several bands. His tastes drifted into the electronic sphere where he started to release music under the name Ichisan. A favourite from the EP is the last track ‘Terasa’, bouncy, bubbly and reminiscent of an age when there was not a care in the world. It’s a real pleasure when something like this comes along, in a scene which is trending towards the serious it’s a breath of fresh air to have something so merry come across the doorstep. Metamundus is a whole-hearted record, full of elation and fun, encouraging you to look on the bright side of life telling you that it isn’t all that bad sometimes.
Struction – Gefuge
In a recent review Resident Advisor presented Struction with a less than complimentary 2.8 / 5 and an equally as indifferent review to match. We however don’t agree. With a nod of the head from Randomer in his latest boiler room, Struction brings us his second ever release following on from his extremely well received 12″ on the Zenker Brothers’ Illian Tape – a wax he shared with none other than Djrum. ‘Kreen’ is a sure tip to any jungle enthusiast as he composes a wonderful transition from hard hitting techno to floated stream of drawn out breaks and dubbed baseline. The rest of the EP follows in the atmospheric style coupled with quick and unforgiving percussion. Unlike RA we think this cements the new kid on R&S as one to watch.
Acronym – The Void Beneath
With the artists Acronym and Asc converging towards similar soundscapes, it should be no surprise to hear the former release on Auxiliary. Concurrently releasing with Asc’s Return of the Emissary – the follow up to his masterpiece The Farthest Reaches – Acronym’s The Void Beneath explores the same territory yet surprisingly eclipses the other’s release, owing to its inspired usage of ambient synths. The release starts with the short, subdued ambient piece Final Descent that remains very much a prelude to the phenomenal remainder of the EP. Endless Horizon kicks this off with its growling ambient synth and emotional melody that gives one the feeling of being drawn into something deeper, in much the same way Inigo Kennedy’s melody in his song Cathedral does. As this slowly unravels it is joined by an irregular heartbeat, before at last tapering off leaving the melody to fade. On the flip side comes Walk Below The Waters, defined by its dominant low kicks with various reverbed percussion and squelchy synths hovering around it. Lastly, there is Wandering Aimlessly. Its ethereal beauty cruelly juxtaposed against a buzz, prior to being left alone to cinematic effect.
Aquarium – Luxury Water Jewels
New label “Silver Lake” kick things off with the blissful “Luxury Water Jewels” EP from Aquarium. Opening with “Floating” the EP dives into what will be it’s backbone – tracks that are reminiscent of water, sun, and natural beauty. “Floating” brings together soothing piano and running water, appearing to submerge, and surface the listener sporadically leading to a relaxing ambience. Throw in the sounds of birds and some echoing dub effects and “Floating” comes together to give the illusion if slowly drifting in an unbelievably calming experience. “Swimming” is less ambient than “Floating”, as is to be expected, yet the composition remains firmly on the ambient side. The sounds of breathing and the bass create the sense of calmly submerging and surfacing, whilst the trickling drums, chimes and dreamy soundscapes continue to bring to focus the beauty of shimmering water. The final A side “Planet Aquarium (Outro)” once again boldly dives under the waves and takes the listener on a trip into the wonders of the underwater world. The bassline might carry the track; however it is the synths which are the real delight, glistening away on the surface. “Sandlewood” feels like the warm up to a summers night next to an aquatic body. Easy drums and a hypnotic atmosphere keep heads nodding, with occasional chimes and faint bongos helping to keep a steady groove going, while remaining true to the EP’s homages. Finally “Water And Sunshine” explicitly draws the two most prevalent themes of the EP together. The blissful atmospherics return creating an image of the final rays of a setting sun dancing off the reflective calm of the waters surface. Bongos and a simple yet effective bass frequency really help to cement the images as the EP draws to a close. The EP maps a blissful day at a lake and it can only be hoped the label will continue to release more wonderful ambient gems.