Thursday, 6 January 2011

Vinyl and Digital reviews: Luke Abbott & Tripswitch

Luke AbbotTrans Forest Alignment (Border Community)

Taken from his acclaimed debut LP ‘Holkham Drones’, ‘Trans Forest Alignment’ features the original and two remixes by Rocketnumbernine and DFA’s Gavin Russom, as well as bonus track ‘A Caucus Race’. If you haven’t already caught the congratulatory reviews of the ‘Trans Forest…’, amongst the layer of sounds lies medical equipment bleeps and drones; some flatlining, others fluctuating, and eventually beginning to communicate as one. Like a vacuum cleaner meeting delicate chiming melodies, ‘Trans Forest…’ would be excellent as a Manga soundtrack and embraces the idea of white noise as a melodic and atmospheric layer. Unfortunately for me, I have an excellent hearing range, and the higher tones went through me like a dog whistle – mosquito alarm, eat your heart out! Nevertheless, this is great left-field electronica to show shapes to. Rocketnumbernine add a more definitive rhythm than the looser arrangements of the original and there’s a tangible focal point amongst the driving drones and disparate noises. It also tones down the higher mosquito bites of sound so that the tonal changes can be heard with more clarity. Gavin Russom draws on this more lowkey sound, filtering for a delicious haze and concussion of rhythms. ‘A Caucus Race’ nicely rounds off the b-side with a completely different tact and a squelchy bass arrangement – it’s a strange feeling to be invigorated by the last track on a release, but this dainty dirge (if there can be such a thing) steadily wins the race.

Released: 24th January 2011

TripswitchStrange Parallels EP (Section Records)

Seven remixes and the original included for context, this isn’t so much a Tripswitch aka Nick Brennan release as a romp in remixes by Purple vs Tim Healey, Shiloh, Aurtas, Codemonkey, Koan, Indidginus and ODT. I’m not keen on the original track - after a great beginning experimenting with textures and metallic shimmers, it’s rudely interrupted by what can only be described as a Tiesto floorfiller key melody that drags over downtempo trance with soft rock and shoegaze hints. The keys and guitar have a souring effect on the promising start. Purple vs Tim Healey infuse some life into the track with an electro-house makeover, and the kick drums help dust off the wishy washy theatrics. Shiloh and Aurtas approach with their progressive house hat on, but it’s Aurtas who wins the battle by diminishing the dramatics of the original with a repetitive edge for focus. Codemonkey puts considerable effort into taking ‘Strange Parallels’ to markedly different territory, bringing a ‘Supernova’ deep dubstep context and adding spoken word to complement and change the original’s downtempo intentions; this is the best interpretation of the remixes. Interestingly, Codemonkey is the alter-ego of Tripswitch, which leaves Lo-Quality wondering why he didn’t go with the dubstep interpretation in the first place! Koan’s trance remake, which immediately follows, is disappointingly indulgent, but Indidginus and ODT round off the release with acidic psy-trance remixes, and again, that extra ‘squelch’ texture helps sharpen up the wooly dream-scapes.

Released: February 2011

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