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Reeko W/ Architectural
The Blue Album Theo Darton-Moore , September 26th, 2013 14:46

I've seen my fair share of flyers with different monikers belonging to the same artist placed alongside one another (Scuba vs SCB, Truss/MPIA3 etc.), although I don't believe I've ever seen a record release employ the same tactic, featuring two aliases belonging to a single producer. Juan Rico's latest offering, The Blue Album does just this however, merging two of the Spaniard's key projects, the one he is perhaps best known for, Reeko, and one of his numerous side projects, Architectural.

  While inclusion of both names on the album credits may at first seem a little odd, after a few listens it begins to make a lot more sense - the mediation that has been struck between the two projects is clear.  

Reeko releases have always felt geared towards peak time plays, laden with hard and fast industrial rhythms, and heady, euphoria inducing synth rushes. Given this it's probably little surprise that the project is by far his best known, yet it is perhaps not a fair overall representation of the musical diversity Juan Rico is capable of. While  for the most part his productions under the Architectural moniker are also at least to some extent dancefloor-orientated, they feel more overtly melodic, and come with a warmth and depth of field arguably lacking in the militant 3am warehouse stompers put out under the Reeko name.  

The mid-ground that has been found within The Blue Album, between these two projects takes perhaps the most easily identifiable of each, mixing deep, dub infused melodic tendencies with the thrill of peak-time warehouse techno.  

While opener 'Blue' (reminiscent of Deepchord) and introspective closer 'The Universal Dream' do provide some beatless reprieve, the rest of The Blue Album is pretty much entirely dancefloor functional, sustained by booming four to the floor kicks and raspy, shuffling rhythms.  

There is a classic tension release formula at work here; the throbbing, anxiety fraught 'Melted' giving way to the hedonistic, dubby funk of 'Dualities', or the blissful, cascading arpeggios calling to mind Shed's 2010 album The Traveller found in 'Sex On Kepler', leading into the ominous, noise-laden 'Force Carriers', just to pick a couple of examples. Although a pretty simplistic blueprint, it is feasibly this which helps to sustain an album rather intent on its capability to be played out.  

This said, functionality doesn't stand in the way of Rico exploring some pretty abstract ideas, 'Startling Idea' for example, features a disorientating mess of hissing noise swarming around the periphery of the mix, above gritty, mechanistic percussion. 'String Theory' also employs a less conventional approach, as sci-fi soundscapes slowly build to a climax. Once again Rico makes an interesting use of panning, as psychedelic arpeggios swirl between left and right.  

A welcome challenge has been found in Juan Rico's merging of two of his key projects, and the end  result has created an outlet for more diverse sounds than each of the projects individually are able to attain. While the release is perhaps not entirely mould-breaking in a wider sense, for Juan Rico himself, The Blue Album has broken new ground I hope he continues to explore in the future.

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