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Hyperspecific: June And July's Electronic Music
Christian Eede , July 24th, 2018 11:43

Christian Eede returns with the latest edition of Hyperspecific taking a look at new releases from SØS Gunver Ryberg (pictured), Rian Treanor, Toxe, the Infinite Machine label and more

SØS Gunver Ryberg

Hyperspecific returns for its latest bi-monthly outing with a focus on producers recently pushing at the edges of electronic music with banging results. I tread carefully when it comes to summarising the releases that make up this edition’s introductory gambit - the ‘deconstructed club’ tag, vague as it is, has grown ripe for jokes in recent years within the underground electronic music scene.

Galtier is a producer whose music sits somewhat parallel to that corner of club music, and so too is the Infinite Machine label based in Mexico City. The former’s next release, a six-track EP entitled Terran, continues a particularly strong run of records this year from Infinite Machine. Opener ‘Last Remnants’ is a slow burner, folding out across majestic synths and a throbbing bassline before giving way to a thudding 100 BPM beat. The rest of the EP’s track pick up the pace little. ‘Keepsake (Work)’ is a riotous clash of drums and satisfying low-end, while ‘Koll’ mostly strips away the melodies, making for a very effective DJ tool. ‘Barren Sphere’ is punctuated by trap drums, bleeps and expansive, dystopian synths, while ‘Journeyman’ is a mostly beatless excursion through grandiose melodies. Infinite Machine’s next offering arrives in September in the form of an LP from Tomás Urquieta. The 11-track Dueños de Nada shares some ground with Galtier’s EP, particularly in the thudding percussion that runs through each release, moving alternately through a series of brief, atmospheric cuts and club-ready bangers.

The Astral Plane is another label and collective consistently pushing leftfield club music. The LA-based blog and imprint’s next release sees a return for SHALT with the second instalment of his ʃælt series. These releases see the British producer focusing on “sound mechanics and loop-based dance forms,” as the label puts it. The second instalment makes for more intense listening than the three tracks featured on the previous ʃælt volume. Lead track ‘Nid de guêpes’ crashes to life with a hail of abrasive drums. Cruising just below the 100 BPM mark, it's carried by a rousing melody and bursts of harsh noise. 'Liquesce' is a slightly more restrained affair, its menacing bassline swamped by lo-fi synths and a heavily cloaked vocal line. Fellow Astral Plane affiliate Nunu rounds out proceedings with a remix of ‘Nid de guêpes’ which picks up the pace of the original while maintaining its raucous energy.

PAN's latest release marks a label debut for Swedish producer Toxe, who's previously been closely associated with the Staycore collective. Blinks is less confrontational than past club-ready tracks such as 'Ax' and 'Deze'. Opener 'Honey Island' does away with the volatile beats of her Staycore work, looking instead to sugary, squealing synths and rueful whistling. 'Big Age' and 'Perfect 2' marry the experimentalism of Toxe's work with animated melodies and all manner of bouncy samples. Blinks feels like a coming of age of sorts for Toxe, moving away from the dancefloor and exploring different environments.

Below, find a round-up of some of the best electronic music that June and July has had to offer, moving through cheeky Whigfield edits, vivid ambient techno and unrelenting kick drums.

SØS Gunver Ryberg - SOLFALD
(Noise Manifesto)

Coming off the back of a frenetic four-tracker from Femaynst, released last month, the latest release on Paula Temple’s Noise Manifesto sees a return to the label for Danish sound artist SØS Gunver Ryberg. She previously contributed to the second edition of the Decon Recon series on the label, in which producers are invited to each anonymously share a track made from another artist’s sounds. SOLFALD provides the producer with her first opportunity to fully grace the label with the wide spectrum of her often punishing sound, captured previously in 2016 on Samuel and Hayley Kerridge’s Contort. Where that release generally locked her sound into some kind of 4x4 framework, with dense, complex percussion at its centre, this latest EP, spread out across six tracks, afford Gunver Ryberg the space to explore the more abstract reaches of her oeuvre which can frequently be heard via her live performances and sound installation work.

Opener ‘Kredslob’ is a drone-laden, beatless cut - one of two on the EP - put together from sounds of the electromagnetic fields in the Opera House of Copenhagen. ‘Op ad dybet’, meanwhile, centres around abrasive, quickfire drums much like EP highlight ‘Lazayak’ with its hypnotic tick-tock beats and climatic melee of harsh synths. ‘Dead Space_Eurydike’ offers perhaps the EP’s airiest moment with its featherweight opening melodies which soon dissolve into a burst of twisted strings. Closer ‘Dispersion’ leaves a parting shot of scattered beats arriving in fits and bursts. With SOLFALD, SØS Gunver Ryberg delivers her best fusion yet of the techno and sound installation scenes she has found herself becoming a part of over the last few years.

Historical Repeater - Scientific Calculator

The latest release from Sunil Sharpe’s Earwiggle marks the full debut of Historical Repeater, the collaborative project of Copenhagen’s CTRLS and Solid Blake - the latter originally hails from Glasgow and makes up one third of Apeiron Crew. Their first record together offers a healthy serving of punchy techno and driving electro, split across four tracks. The opening title track bounds fourth with skittering drums reminiscent of Blawan’s early forays into techno. Gathering around a hypnotic synth progression and mutant vocal snippets, it nimbly balances precise sound design with a peak-time-worthy techno stomp. ‘Flashdrive’ following it reins in the intensity only slightly. A driving, DJ Stingray-esque slice of electro, heavily warped vocal samples collide with weighty drums which stand out from the maelstrom of new electro currently emerging by the shedload.

‘Leisure’ sees a return to the slamming techno of the title track with its hulking kicks and sizzling hi-hats, underpinning more heavily processed vocal manipulation. ‘Say Nothing’ rounds out proceedings with a distinctly more groove-led approach to peak-time techno. It speaks to both producers’ credit that they can turn in a 12” of such direct, 4x4 techno as on Scientific Calculator without compromising on character. CTRLS will be a familiar name to those who favour this kind of techno via numerous releases on the Token label, while Solid Blake, having made her full solo debut late last year, is well on her way to forging out a reputation for colourful techno. If the results of their first collaboration are anything to go by, the project should yield continually banging results in the future.

Rian Treanor - RAVEDIT
(The Death Of Rave)

Conor Thomas’ The Death Of Rave imprint, last seen occupying space in this column via Gábor Lázár’s excellent album Unfold earlier this year, has become a regular home for Rian Treanor’s glitch-ridden hardcore continuum mutations since his debut in 2015. Across two records for the label, his leftfield take on grime and garage has pushed at the 4x4 conventions of these sub-genres, in a similar way to the aforementioned LP from Gábor Lázár, while a record for the recently relaunched Warp sub-label Arcola earlier this year saw him push further at this offbeat, yet firmly danceable, framework.

A new white label, arriving again via The Death Of Rave, in the form of four edits, offers a glimpse into a more tongue-in-cheek take on Treanor’s sound, toying with eurodance and Pakistani cinema soundtracks. ‘Saturday Night’ is a sugar rush of haphazard kicks and chopped-up stabs and vocal parts from Whigfield’s chart-topping 1993 hit of the same name. ‘Good News’ samples a much-loved Lollywood track from M. Ashraf, once again rearranging brief chunks of the source material around jittering percussion, while ‘Oh Yeh’ completes the A-side, sampling Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’, which most notably of course featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Splicing the vocal of the original track, he manipulates the stuttering results gloriously, acting almost as an added layer of percussion in the gaps that sit between the sparse drums. The B-side is occupied by one single 14-minute track as Treanor this time casts his eye back to the ‘80s and to Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’ rendering it virtually unrecognisable past the opening few minutes as the distinctive synths of the source material are doubled, tripled and warped further and further into a maelstrom of brain-scrambling fits of noise. Above all, RAVEDIT sees Whigfield making a mark on ‘serious’ dancefloors in 2018, and for that, Treanor can’t be praised highly enough.

Barker - Debiasing
(Ostgut Ton)

Sam Barker’s first solo EP on Ostgut Ton may be completely free of kick drums but you can imagine any of its four tracks working a treat in a peak-time club set. Opener ‘Cascade Effect’ consists of distant choral harmonies and lush synths that simmer and swell, all of which is deftly underpinned by a distinctly weighty bass presence. ‘When Prophecy Fails’ picks up the pace slightly taking up the remaining space on the record’s A-side. Again, it deals in serotonin-fuelled euphoria and richly melodic, trance-y synths, initially stripping away the low-end bass rumble of its predecessor.

‘Look How Hard I’ve Tried’ offers one of the record’s most hypnotic moments, its swung, starry synths growing ever-hypnotic with every four-bar loop. Finally, ‘Filter Bubbles’ delivers the record’s boldest serving of sub-bass, its metronomic bleeps and synths occasionally letting up before flinging back into action with more purpose at every round. Debiasing’s four tracks mostly play on the same tropes - think ecstatic melodies and dancefloor-pleasing climaxes - with sensational results, in turn producing a record that deserves to be remembered as a high-point for Ostgut Ton in years to come.

Topdown Dialectic - Topdown Dialectic
(Peak Oil)

Not much is known about who’s behind the Topdown Dialectic project. Across a serious of cassette releases tracing back to 2013, which have come out through Chloe Harris’ Further Records and the Aught label (which is also made up seemingly of a collective of anonymous producers), Topdown Dialectic has or have become synonymous with a brand of hazy, submerged dub techno, recalling much of the material found amongst the Chain Reaction back catalogue. Their self-titled LP, the project’s most substantial release to date, continues this tradition.

Comprised of eight identical-length, untitled five-minute tracks, the LP moves through various woozy textures from the stepper rhythms of the opening track through to the smudged, low-key melodies of the closing track. Fans of Jan Jelinek’s now-classic Loop-Finding Jazz Records LP will find a lot to like in this record as it moves through various strains of relaxed dubbed-out techno. Highlights come in the soft vocal and gentle chord-pairing of ‘A3’ and ‘B2’’s stripped-back chugging beats, but it’s an LP filled with rewarding moments from start to finish.

qgb - Hornets
(Present Tense)

qgb’s music first came to my attention around a year ago as it began to pop up in the sets of DJs such as Call Super and Ben UFO. Now some of those tracks heard in those sets finally make their way out on the producer’s first full release, an eight-track LP (available both as a digital download and on fossilised USB sticks) which covers several bases. Opener ‘Randomised Targets’ kicks proceedings off with a wave of glitchy, starry-eyed electronics, much like beatless closer ‘You Can Steer Yourself In Any Direction You Choose’, which pairs hefty low-end bassweight with dazzling synths.

In the interim, Hornets moves through laidback house reminiscent of some of Leif’s finer work (‘Quivering Grumbling Braying’), stomping, speedy techno (‘Hornets’), malfunctioning IDM experimentations (‘Alarm Bells (If Language Was Pretty)) and dancehall-adjacent, halftime polyrhythms (Seeingsound / Hearingvision). Hornets is a very promising, chameleonic debut from a burgeoning producer whose work will no doubt be worth paying close attention to going forward.