Review: Hinode – Globular Clusters (Helena)

Berlin based Italian duo Matteo Chisari and Mario Resta have been cooking up some interesting deep space techno for a little while now, releasing a string of of EPs on their own Science Fiction Recordings that combined a very Detroit aesthetic and fascination with the cosmos with a more rugged sound. Although it’s hardly the rarest of starting points, the partner ship has nevertheless managed to move beyond such a simple premise to a point where the music carries a heartfelt and occasionally beautiful soul that sets it apart from the gangs of analogue noise merchants and by-the-book techno currently doing the rounds.

‘Globular Clusters’, the first release by embryonic Portuguese label Helena, continues in much the same direction as last years ‘Science Fiction’ trilogy which moved between sleek, fattened dance floor weapons and sparkling examples of hi-tech funk. The duo’s tastes and influences return here too – spend a little while with the record and little touches of Juan Atkins or Carl Craig become apparent, growing brighter like distant points of light in the night sky.

Not that this is particularly an act of homage; Those touches are important to the way Hinode tell their stories, sculpting the brawn of the rhythm and the bass into something more lithe and atmospheric than they might have been otherwise. Cubic Parsec, the track that controls the whole of the A-side, is especially alive to this juxtaposition of the earthy and the stellar. Although the drums, loose and tumbling, and full of urgent groove, are certainly potent, it is the raw sunlight of the synths, rising into a bright and dreamy motif that give the track its emotional heft before they thin out and let a twisting thread of acid take the tune on to somewhere else entirely, somewhere familiar to fans of Underground Resistance’s more introverted moments.

In comparison, Linear Equations feels leaden-footed at first as if it’s swapped Cubic Parsec‘s airy sense of adventure for something denser. In a sense this is certainly true; the tune is pushed along by the pulse of a thick bass that seems to be heading dubward but never quite becomes as affected as that. In actual fact Linear Equations takes a little while to start making its presence felt. Its deep, moving through the thermocline towards the ocean bed, the sound eddying around little reefs of synths that dapple the bass with shade and colour. It’s late night music for sure, for the moments long after the peak has come and gone.

Time Travel is  the odd one out, and perhaps the best of the three. A laidback hit of electro, it refines the washes of sound, extending  and hanging them  around the sultry beats as fragments of words crumble over them. It’s not so much deep space as deep city – the soundtrack for a late night drive through the street-light splashed darkness as the crowds open up and splinter off into individual memories and thoughts of sleep. Drowsy, but alert to tomorrow, its only failing is that it’s only half as long as you want it to be. A great moment of melancholy and groove on a record that builds towards the future whilst remembering the soul of techno’s past.