Review: Anomaly – Sun and Moon EP (Soul People Music)

Like an astronaut with a busted navigation computer, it has become increasingly difficult to voyage through the firmament of alternate guises created by a galaxy of well-known producers seeking to leave their mark on other genres, styles and labels without hitching the new material to the names that made them what they are. From some perspectives this is an easy enough phenomenon to understand. Any musician famed for crunching Techno is likely to have reservations in sticking out an album of weird and piping experimental Drum n Bass under a familiar nom de plume. Others simply wish to work under the blanket of anonymity a new name gives them, for whatever reason. Still others, I am sure, see it as a marketing tool designed to drum up excitement across the global sowing circle that is the internet. Whatever the reasons, though, and regardless of the recent explosion, House and Techno have a long history in this sort of thing.

Fred Peterkin – AKA, Fred P, AKA Black Jazz Consortium, AKA Anomaly – emerged from the East coast scene along side other luminaries such as DJ QU, DJ Jus Ed and Levon Vincent but his music has often felt separated from them by virtue by an even keener sense of exploration, adventure and symphonic understanding than is typical in modern electronic music, particularly the strains that fall under the banner of House, even the much derided Deep House moniker. Over the last few years he’s worked magic under those various names. It Is What It Is, for example, can easily sit up there with some of the very greatest tracks in the history of House and Techno. His work as Black Jazz Consortium is no less phenomenal, mixing fluid rhythms, trippy vocals and jazzy motifs to reclaim Deep House from the clutches of the ignorant.

His Anomaly guise would seem to indicate an opportunity to unite his traditional aesthetics with a more upfront Techno ethos. The Red Clouds EP from earlier in the year was a generally successful attempt to do exactly this, coming pleasingly to fruition on Above Below which carried the warm, early rave feel of Underground Resistance in one of their more chilled periods and married it to that sense of groove that has come to define Peterkin’s work, no matter what title he works under. His latest release, the Sun and Moon EP, pushes on with this movement.
tieing the tune down

The first side is given over to Serinatatis. Although the playful, inventive rhythms are in place along the tunes eight minute length, there is a sense of the magic just not coming together properly. It carries with it the suspicious feel of Fred P’s usual deep adventurism being reworked for the Berghain generation. Where you want the track to feel hypnotic, it just feels a bit loopy, especially given the purr of the bass which simply lends an unnecessary dubby quality when, instead, the low-end could use a bit of drive in order to hold the scattered synths to their promise.

The EP picks up on the B side with Dark Population dropping the more obvious tricks of its predecessor in favour of a darkened, slow stepping skank which boosts the atmospherics through subtlety and a distant, increasingly anxious pad that hooks a sense of nervous energy to the restrained percussion and the pulsed throb of the bass.

The closer, Convection Zone is closest to traditional Fred P and is the record’s most up front moment. Echoing Trumpets and his trademark cosmos-deep synths collide slowly – occasionally dissonant, occasionally coming together to provide the sort of harmonic beauty you just don’t get unless you push things beyond the sane. Below the cresting registers the bass squelches along, doing it own thing and tying the tune down with a sense of fun, playing off against the fabulous drums that kick and shimmy, party to the mischief. Best on the record, a proper marriage of Techno and House that more than makes up for the A-side’s routine flutter.

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