With all the chest beating and soul-searching that has accompanied the massive changes to the musical landscape in the last few years, it would be easy to think that we are heading into an end-times where all music will finally be defeated by the forces of evil. Digital platforms, if we are to believe the hype, have probably killed music off for good. Sales are down, piracy rampant, and even if you can get your hands on new music it will probably be by some teenage idiot utilising a cracked copy of FL studio to stick some low bit rate samples of the Amen break behind one of their mates singing about smoking weed.
It’s not exactly true though, is it? Those who once benefited from what were essentially cartels are still scrambling to repair the cash pipeline that ruptured as more and more methods of distribution came online. And from the music makers – many of whom should know better – there was the sense that the massive explosion of releases by those self-same pot singing kids meant the downfall of everything that was Important and Good and Holy.
The fact is that the most important musical explosions over the last 50 years tended to have come from those who had no business making music. it doesn’t matter whether it was a bunch of kids in LA twanging guitars in the early 60s or some half-educated oiks doing exactly the same thing in South London in the 70s or even some mates getting excited about misusing an innocent TB303 in mid eighties Chicago. The point is that the most interesting, most life affirming music probably had no business coming into existence. And yet it did, because the people making it were driven to make it. It was true then, and it’s true now.
I would probably have never heard of Further Pushers if it had not been for the internet and for Bandcamp. That site has surely to be considered the way forward. Allowing labels and artists to deal ‘face-to-face’ with the music buying public maximizes their sales and the money they make without them having to deal with an archaic system that is designed to strip out the lions share of the cash for those who have no right taking it.
Apeiron, the Roman duos first release, is the embodiment of a Techno ethos that has been present since the earliest days of the scene. Tunes cooked up using cheep, uncool gear (the much derided MC303 and MC505, in this case,) but with the hardware squeezed until every bit of goodness has been tasted. Apeiron is a gliding trip into a future ballroom. Ever reaching for a crescendo, it teases you backwards and forwards. A simple synth growing in confidence before it pulls away to let the groove pulse and writhe.
Apeiron(dub tool) revisits the same ballroom, but later in the night. It’s stripped down, a more functional take on the same themes. Gone are the playful, tumbling rhythms, the beats replaced by stalking, hard-stepping kicks that are darker, much more serious in their work. The synths rebuilt, heavier and more precise than before.
The closer, Ritmo20, is the least open of the three, and the darkest. snippets of barely heard, mumbled conversations, wrapped around static bursts, thicken a brew stirred by a one note riff that feels like morse code sent from a forgotten colony in deep space. It’s a claustrophobic trip into a frayed, fragile mind but, for all that, one of singular purpose.
Music is dead? The industry might be screwed, but from where I’m sitting, music itself seems to be in rude health. Funny that.