Saturday 1 May 2021

New, Old and back again

Ozdemir Atlan - Reality (1974)

A quick one for your weekend, a nice little wrap-up of things I done found this week. As you might have guessed from the title today we have a couple of new records and an old one that's a welcome surprise too. Let's kick things off with Gimmik; an interesting artist as they pulled a Baader-Meinhof phenomenon on me, Cloudwalker came up on my 'new from n5MD' notifications and I could have sworn I'd heard the name before.

A brief look later and it turns out I had a couple of tracks from them on some early 00's IDM compilations I'd picked up ages ago, and even more from aliases of theirs called Num Num and Low Profile Society (which coincidentally have recently been compiled and released under the Gimmik moniker as 'Who Is Num Num?' and 'Low Profile Society' respectively). The sound of those early 00's comps is really special, I have a massive bias towards most things under the IDM label (as you all well know) but those compilations really hit the spot. And the demo track from Cloudwalker does exactly the same all these years later - Carters Final Transmission evokes some of my favourite examples of the genre, namely the very early work of Autechre from the Incunabula LP - that kind of forward looking futurist techno streak is a sound I absolutely adore and I couldn't be happier to get more of it in my collection. The whole thing has a slight melancholic edge to it that's really nice and the extended melodic fadeout to ambience is just lovely, really compliments the atmosphere and the title. If the rest of the LP is anything like this, I'll have to grab it this coming Friday for sure.

Bit of a switch up in tempo this time as we go back to Squarepusher's debut - Feed Me Weird Things, it's getting a re-issue on Warp in June, so it might just become the first New/Retro Review when it comes out! It's nice to see so many records that were previously Rephlex exclusive break out, we've seen the likes of DMX Krew do similar recently - Not that I have anything against Rephlex mind you, it was juts unfortunate it was a fairly small scale imprint all things considered, so a lot of albums like this became rarer with time. I already picked up a second hand copy of this LP years ago, but it's nice to have it more readily available regardless, it even comes with the Japanese bonus tracks included too which is a nice touch.

Weird Things is a bit of an odd album, there are tracks on there that rank up there with some of the best work the 'pusher has ever produced, but there are a lot of little tangents and experiments in there too that perhaps aren't quite as memorable. Saying that, there's some absolute quality here too - the lush ambient of Goodnight Jade, the dark and menacing almost Trip Hop U.F.O.'s Over Leytonstone to the bombastic bassy twangs of the opening Squarepusher Theme to name just a few. Wisely, Warp have chosen of of the tracks that despite its age comes very close to being the distilled essence of Squarepusher to promote the album - the charmingly titled Theme From Ernest Borgnine. The whole thing is a fantastic experience, the opening synths are fantastically done, and the way those breakbeats blindside into the foray around the 1:10 mark is a masterstroke. If you're at all a fan of the more Drum & Bass side of Squarepusher, you will find a lot to like here, though it's not as abrasive as some of the later 'Drill & Bass' stuff he was making like Come On My Selector. It's perhaps one of the most accessible because of that, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the album as a starting point if you're looking to get into Squarepusher as a whole, but if you're new and you like what you hear here, I'd check out the Big Loada EP and for more.

And finally Burial. I very infequently check up on the Hyperdub bandcamp page just to see what he's up to but it's been a long time since I sat down and gave any of it a listen. I did this time though with the split EP Shock Power Of Love, partly because it's a split EP with a couple of other artists and I wanted to hear what they brought to the table. The Burial tracks are of course the main draw, and they're both pretty solid. Dark Gethsemane really goes all in with that 'hazy half-remembered rave' sound that Burial does from time to time, takes a little while to get going, but when those distant ravy stabs come in it's all gravy. It all goes a bit pear shaped in the second half though, what starts as a gorgeous dive into ambient is spoiled by the needless repetition of an incredibly trite vocal sample stating "We must shock this nation with the power of love", with the repetition completely beating the meaning out of it.

Still, not to be too negative - let's talk about the other Burial tune here Space Cadet, its much lighter and airy compared to the previous track and much of Burial's discography if you're familiar. Despite that there are still plenty of Burial hallmarks, the little pops and crackles as heard on previous releases, and the slightly auto-tuned vocal samples that I am a total sucker for too. Overall though it's a much different feel than you'd expect, I can understand people's complaints with Dark Gethsemane (and as you've seen, I have had some of the same ones), but I don't quite get the negative reception for Space Cadet... It's perhaps not an instant classic for me like Rough Sleeper was, but I'm not having a bad time with it at all. As mentioned before though, your mileage may vary as I'm admittedly more of a casual Burial fan and aren't super familiar with his whole discography.

That'll do it for today - it's a pretty interesting time for releases, seems like things are picking up again. I might have do do a couple of deep dives on those two Gimmik compilations I mentioned before, some of the Num Num tracks are quality and I'm pretty sure there's some I haven't heard on that compilation too. Likewise I'll have to set a reminder for myself to cover the 'Pusher reissue when it comes out too. Hope you dig some of this time's selections as much as I do - And as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


No comments: