Saturday 21 November 2020

Spacing Out

What a week it's been - things have been following the trajecotry of a full on rollercoaster lately. To the point where I sat down today and realised "I don't know what to write about", but I gave it some thought and I came up with a little something - we're going to revisit the world of spacey techno that I so often wax lyrical about!
Lyubov Popova - Space Force Construction

You've probably seen me mention how I could find precious little of that bleepy future sound this side of the 2000's, but I have been lying to you a little bit as there is an EP I discovered a little while back that ticks those boxes. E.R.P, an alias of Gerard Hanson, better know under his Convextion name and an artist I was totally unfamiliar with just some months ago. This could have been included in the last post in all honesty as I discovered the original EP this track was from, Alsoran from a recommended suggestion on one of my more ambient techno playlists but I digress.

The Alsoran EP is originally from 2007, the release I'm posting it from is a kind of re-issue of two E.R.P. EPs, both that and the Vox Automaton EP. I've yet to sit down and really listen to the Vox side, but the Alsoran EP is three tracks of gorgeous spacey electronic goodness that comes close to evoking those feelings the Artifical Intelligence stuff did for me way back when. All the tracks are solid, but my favourite by a hair's breadth is Lament Subrosa, this first track I heard. It has much more of an old school Electro vibe than the usual ambient techno feel I gravitate towards which is refreshing. Though I certainly get my fill of ambient goodness with the superbly lush intro, which is something that's consistent across the whole EP. Another one of those cases where I can't believe I didn't find out about this stuff sooner, the original EP is well over 10 years old now!

Continuing that trend with a revisit to Richie Hawtin's Dimension Intrusion, originally from 1993. I could never get on with Hawtin's work as Plastikman but I have always adored the F.U.S.E. work. It was re-issued not too long ago after mysteriously disappearing from some streaming services, turns out they were planning a 25th anniversary edition with some bonus extras that I happily snapped up. The re-issue did move the tracklist around a bit, moving some to an accompanying EP and inserting some previously unreleased ones in their place. They're a nice addition - my favourite of them being the suitably titled Downbeat, nicely bouncy thanks to that bassline and firmly rooted in that early 90's sound. Both for better and worse, the sounds are divine for sure but I can't help but feel that the synthy bits first introduced around 2:07 sound so so out of place, almost what someone would do if they were making a parody of that kind of techno. Still, not to sound too negative - it's another prime slice of ambient techno, and I love it, dated parts and all.

And finally rounding out with some proper electro from Warp. Not part of the canon Artificial Intelligence albums but always lumped with them in my head - Elektroworld is myserious album indeed, we know Drexciya's Gerald Donald and James Stinson were involved, but as you can see there are four people on the cover and in promo shots but even that could be a total red herring. Elektroworld was one of my first real dives into electro, and while with expeirence I do think there are better albums out there, it's still a good release and an intersting listen. My favourite has always been Midnight Drive - where the touch of Gerald Donald and James Stinson is absolutley clear to hear. It's among the most accessible tracks on the album, full to bursting with lovely beeps and boops and all kinds of electro smoothness - it does suffer like a few other tracks on this album from having a repetitive vocal sample, while on other tracks like Japanese Elecktronics it does take a backseat for a bit to let the instrumentals shine it's a near constant precence here. It doens't bother me but I can see it grating on some people which is unfortunate.

And that wraps us for this week, this post is going up slightly later than normal just because I took a slightly unintentional extended break. I'm still going to look at getting some older posts re-done! For all my negativity about the new blogger UI it actually looks like it'll really help - I'm just getting used to it and working out the kinks. Sadly not the fun kind. As always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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