Of the pile of records that have tumbled into existence over the last couple of weeks, there were two that had been awaited more than most. Galcher Lustwerk’s Nu Day, his first release on a label other than White Material, was probably the biggest, with the Peanut Gallery determined to stroke its collective chin to death over whether it was better than Tape22, his debut. I Don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, save for the samples up on Redeye. The other was Long Island Electrical Systems 45th release, (and only their 4th or so of the year,) This Society by German producer Florian Kupfer.
Kupfer’s debut for L.I.E.S, last years Lifetrax, was an example of that rarest of achievements – a proper underground 12 inch that made it into the bag of some terrifyingly big name DJ’s. Now on its third repress (and with fresh mastering to boot,) The record continues to impress not so much for the title track, which was a decent enough romp, but for the B-side Feelin’, a tune for which the currently hip House-adjective ‘Dusty’ could have been coined. As Oasis mastermind Noel Gallagher once wisely noted, ‘you know you’ve made it when even the squares are interested’, and with Feelin’, the squares were indeed interested.
This Society doesn’t really follow on from where Lifetrax finsished off, nor does it really continue on from the pair of tracks on his split release with Vereker on Russian Torrent Version. the title track, This Society is harsher, bordering on industrial territory, as if some of his more up front label mates have been leading him astray over the last few months. A Viciously distorted beat and a swelling, monotone choral sample dominate the track. It’s stripped down, functional and as far away from the sleepy funk of Feelin’ as it probably possible to get. I can imagine this is going to properly scare some of the Deep House Kiddies, lulled into a false sense of security by the previous release. Good.
By Resistors we’re back into something like sleep funk territory again. Jangly pianos and pulsed synth stabs to bring in the morning with, but with the warmest layer of overdriven fuzz holding the whole thing together. It’s like waking up disoriented from those dark and poignant dreams that leave you slightly weirded out for the remainder of the day, but you’re not sure why.
The last track, Reach Another System, is like a merging of the other two, and is probably both the most outlandish and the most fully realised. It’s a ten minute adventure on the edge of a singularity with Jeff Mills and Herbie Hancock for company. The early piped euphoria of the riff and the snarling, wrong-stepping beats giving way to minor chord jazz improvisation above a cloud of dissonance that fluctuates with the razor like hats. Musically and philosophically it’s out there: It’s Techno that simply isn’t concerned with anything other than itself. Not only is it the best thing Kupfer has done, I think it’s one of the best things L.I.E.S has released for a while, and there is some damn fine competition there.
Whether or not the squares are still going to be listening following This Society is a difficult thing to know. It’s a thrawn, slightly obtuse record; one that demands to be taken on its own merits. But it’s also an inventive and playful record, one that is going to reward repeated listens away from the gurning floor-monkeys of club-land. So, yeah, the squares might not be so keen on this as they were on Feelin’, but what the hell do they know? They like Oasis for God’s sake. There’s a moral there…