Friday, 7 October 2011

Tape Swap - Ekoclef (Magic & Dreams)

Synchronicity: I started rereading Zamyatin’s ‘We’ today, and what should drop through my mail but a new album co-produced by Ralph ‘Bass Clef’ Cumbers, who made records called ‘Zamyatin Tapes’. No lie, GI.

The ‘Tape Swap’ album, made with Nick ‘Ekoplekz’ Edwards, proves that two minds can be better than one, which is not to say that the individual efforts of either are inferior to this, but the manifestation of a Third Mind here yields its own specific rewards.

In Synch: It was Ralph’s idea. They recorded separately onto four-track tape cassettes, sent them to each other, and overdubbed onto each idea. Instead of sounding like a battle of wills, the result harmonises each of their styles. As a successful meeting of minds tends to do, one tempers the other’s inclination, which in this case means refinement of both left-field dubstep and raw, ‘punk’ electronica.

‘Lens Flare Oh Yeah’ retains sub-bass pressure but is enhanced by astute sonic atmospherics. ‘Tonight Is A Trap But The Bait Is Great’ creates a similar atmosphere, with even more bass, taken in another direction by ethereal electro treatment.

If there’s a post-dubstep terrain being mapped out by those who were already perhaps on the fringes of the genre, or I should say, to the ‘left’ of it, this and Roly Porter’s album suggest it will provide some real treats. Whilst the ‘street’ mob travel their route into either stagnation or evolution (all strict genres stagnate eventually), the mavericks will make more of their tendency to explore the outer limits. That may result in beatless works, or albums like this, which fuses (whilst refusing) many elements of electronic music.

One of the standout tracks, ‘M4 Endless’, starts in a similar mode to John Carpenter’s classic ‘Assault On Precinct 13’, but evolves into a depiction of motorik monotony on a UK motorway until abduction by Plutonians possessed by the spirit of Lee Perry whisk the duo into outer space. This is the story it tells me. You (and they) may think otherwise.

To use one title track, it’s a form of ‘sonic salvation’ from the predictability of much electronic music. And to use another, they will ‘march triumphant over your bones’ if you let them. I suggest that you do.

Ekoplekz info here

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