Ajukaja & Andrevski – Looking For Something That’s Not There (Levels)
Causing something of a stir with last year’s Rare Birds EP, the Estonian duo return on Levels with another 12″ of, well, I’m not entirely sure what. As house music continues to splinter off into ever smaller, but highly recognizable shards, Ajukaja & Andrevski lovingly buck the trend and deliver two tracks of cosmically touched, alien house music that somehow seem to distil the most interesting elements of the current Future Times/Moodhut duopoly while nodding their heads at the sort of big, slick, rolling numbers that are an endangered species nowadays.
Even better, both tracks are wired into an almost experimental grid of pure electronic experimentalism that adds an electrifying edge to the synths and kicks. They flutter and float against the current house tides, thickening themselves when they need to with huge nudges of bass, and occasionally, in the weird giggle of their melodies, they sail close to something on the edge of popiness where all those elements begin to come together into a strange but very satisfying whole. The drums and the percussion trick the ear and the feet, creating an illusion that they are pushing the tracks harder and faster, rendering them more in your face while refusing to acknowledge they are, in reality, barely scraping into the low 120BPMs.
Fantastic, warm and very skewed head music. If your head is that of a strange multi-dimensional star creature, that is. Magic.
Hi & Saberhägen – H+P 019 (Huntlys and Palmer)
You wait an eternity for some oddball house music records to come along, and then two pop up at once. A début here for Hi & Saberhägen on Glasgow/London label Huntlys & Palmers, and one that certainly bodes well for their future. As with the Ajukaja and Andrevski record, this is another adventure into the edge of modern house music. Taking off from a similar launch pad of deeply woven melodies and subtle lattices of frequency, it adds in the mischievous sound work of ambient techno to the mix, and occasionally dips into the lower frequencies with a dubby anti-engery that propels it sleepily onward. It owes as much to raw, adventuring electronica, mind you, as it does to house music, with sounds dripping and falling, echoing and reversing, occasionally melting away into the void.
Stand out here is Better Love, a butter rich, syrup slow electro-poppish work out that feels like being washed along in a river of glacial melt water, numbed but entirely aware, with only sharp rocks for company as they flow along with you.
Occasionally a little too coy for its own good, a little too comfortable with its trippy but stark sound world, and feeling like it’s a little too willing to swap a deeper emotional connection for stand off-ish cool detachment it’s still a refreshing take on the genre, and one that shines with an understanding of what pure sound can bring to a genre that often times seems to have forgotten.