Monday, 14 March 2011

Vinyl and Digital Reviews: Various Artists - Landscapes Of The Future (Greener Records)

Greener Records was created to bring together founder Andrés Zacco’s fellow Argentinian artists who share the same vision in techno. This compilation is a new direction however, for armchair listening and musing, so disband your hopes for techno drumming before playing. As the title suggests, there’s something of a soundscape approach with an eye on the future, and soundscapes have certainly been a big feature of the dance industry in the last year (such as the recent debut LP of Stroboscopic Artefact’s Lucy) and whether this actually follows or precedes a resurgence of popularity for ambient drone works amongst fans is still undecided. There does seem to be a trend in producing singles and EPs for the dancefloor, and reserving LPs for more esoteric or ‘mindful’ works, however.

Opening with Gustavo Lamas’ (Kompakt / Traum) ‘Mas’, you’re taken to a crackly soundscape, reminiscent of a soundtrack used to accompany flashbacks, and quietly fizz into Zacco’s ‘Landing’, which is meant to depict the journey of a safety capsule in space. The theme of deep washes of sound and wind prevail, and make use of natural sounds freed of a rhythm. Sandoval adopts the sounds of the forest for ambient with strong similarities to meditation music for ‘Estacion Nunez’, but there is a sense of techno being held in a darkened room somewhere asking to come back and join the fray. Nico Purman (Vakant) is perhaps the most recognisable name on the compilation, and ‘Mauer Park’ manages to inject melody and ergo, a sense of rhythm without letting the team down on their soundscape aims. He uses field recordings to help capture his vision and it comes off as one of the more coherent tracks of the LP. The compilation is named for Franco Cinelli’s bubbling and bell-jingling ‘Landscapes Of The Future’, and it provokes a deeper thought in me; suggesting that we are living in our own self-awareness, picking out sounds that have been captured in thousands of different ways and repackaging them for new ears, and I'm specifically talking about the cult of Bladerunner. There is getting to be little distinction between film scores and ambient works coming out of the techno scene and it’s this haziness which sometimes left me wondering whether there were missing visuals to complete the experience of the ‘Landscapes...’ compilation.

Regardless, and moving on to the only non-Argentinian on the release and another highlight, Poland’s Jacek Sienkiewicz and ‘Frk’, capturing the sense of working in an aircraft hangar: dwarfed by overhanging feats of engineering and overcome by engine drones. Jonas Kopp’s ‘Cloned Krishna’ is touted as a “ toxic walk through a bioroid production factory”, and we are again brought back to Bladerunner, a bioroid being a manga term for synthetic organisms or bio-robots. The track itself comes across as a lo-fi and echoing drone of oriental music in a 1940s film, however - slightly cliched, with a touch of witch house. Jeremy Flagelo emphasises the use of hardware to create music with a track composed with an ARP Odyssey MK3, which may work as a promotional tool, but as an experimental soundscape it holds a strong similarity with a school hearing test. The 9 track LP is rounded off with veteran Leonel Castillo’s ‘Doming Soleado’ which acts as a complete departure from the rest of the sounds. Imagine finding a degraded recording of Four Tet-ish dancehall in 2060 and carefully reconstructing on a now outmoded machine, and you have the strangely pleasing and upbeat ‘Doming’.

Release Date. February 28th 2011

Releases available: Nico Purman - Visions Ep (April 12, 2011)

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