Alex Falk first appeared on the scene last year with his understated debut, Terse, on Proper Trax, the label he runs with Will Azeda. Well, I say understated. The music on it scampered across the various sounds of the Techno range with nods to the likes of Rob Hood and Jeff Mills (on BPR, a glorious take on faded Hoodian – Yeah, I’ve just coined that term – minimalism) and a discordant thumpingness which still puts me in mind of French producer Terence Fixmer in one of his slightly more unhinged periods. Its big moment in the sun was surely the appearance of one of the tracks , PTR, on Hessle Audio chief Pangaea’s entry into the Fabric mix CD series. It’s a great tune; a sparse beat hanging steady under great sweeps of filtered noise. It sounds like its trying to erase its own tracks. As a whole it was a deceptively heavy EP, sounding at times like a man asleep, but with his hand wrapped around the knife hidden under the pillow.
GF sees the Tennessee native moving south to Atlanta and signing up with CGI for this, his first release of the year. It’s always a good sign of strength in a producers work when they can turn in something that has little in common with whatever they’ve been up to previously. Of course, on the strength of a pair or records, it’s all but impossible to say whether the raw Techno of Terse was a good example of where his head is hat, or whether, it’s here amongst the deep funk of GF, his talents are better served.
If you follow such things, you are already aware that GF carries a sample from a tune by some well scrubbed child-scrote called Justin Beiber. Not that you would probably notice. From the sound of it, Beiber has been hacked apart and rebuilt using parts from a very, very knackered 1970’s era robot. It’s like Falk found Twiki from Buck Rodgers in a bin and stapled Beibers head to its yellowed plastic torso. As this is the sort of thing I tend to hope happens to most people who are richer, more beautiful and successful than me, I can only give it my full support and play it whenever I can. The rest of the track chugs along nicely, but it’s the sample that sets up the denouement.
The record doesn’t really come to life until Foam Party, though. A wispy, deeply groovy little mover, Foam Party swoops in on the back of a winged funk cherub and dives into soulful waters where fish with the faces of Carl Craig and Kenny Larkin wriggle through dapples of saturated light. More seriously, the track hangs at the interchange between House and Techno seemingly uncaring about which way it wants to go. I think it’s pure House. Others may disagree.
BF is coming up on that interchange as well. A feint vocal snippet fades in an out of the mix, nicely accenting the tight, regimented riff that calls to mind Chez Damier and, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, echoing some of Anthony Naples recent work. It’s probably a purer form of House than Foam Party, a classic builder that’s probably at it’s happiest slightly out of the limelight and welcoming others to the mix.
Miley’s Plateau takes the lessons learned over the previous tracks and marries the House vibes to a tougher Techno groove. It’s probably closer in spirit to Falk’s first release, but the peels of synth that ring out give it a warmth that record did not have. It’s the rhythms here that are the most exciting; where previously they sometimes seemed slightly perfunctory under the roll and smile of the riffs, on Miley’s Plateau they are front and centre, scattering pockets of static into the corners of the speakers and pushing forwards without ever threatening the fun, whimsical atmosphere; a stomper with a heart of gold.