Florist – Phenomena EP (All Caps)
What’s been pleasing about the sheer number of Glasgow labels over the last few years is that although they appear to have arrived mobbed handed, they never seem to tread on each others toes. It goes some way to fostering a sense of an actual and diverse musical community rather than a bunch of imprints slavishly following the trends. All Caps has come up on the QT with a number of well-regarded EPs that somehow never got enough of the words they should have. That’s been changing.
Vancouver artist and Moodhut affiliate Florist is the latest in the ongoing connection between the two cities to make his mark over here. Florist delivers a stand up record in Phenomena which holds to some of the deep mood his Canadian contemporaries are known for whilst using it to clad colder, grainier sentiments which, although never pushing the music into anything resembling darkness, are willing to introduce an important feel of introspection to the proceedings. The four pieces clamber over swirling dubby vibes, cracking the thick atmosphere here and there with tribal overtones and little kinks of almost ravey colour and riffs of classic house. In particular Final Bounce’s wistful dubwise skank, which couples surprisingly pacey drums with hazy and hypnotic textures, feels like new age house finally living up to its promise. In actual fact, that’s something you could say for the whole of Phenomena. Properly deep, complex and emotionally charged, It’s a record that could well win over some of the doubters amongst us.
Phran – 3000 Modes EP (Klasse Wrecks)
Berlin label Klasse Wrecks are slowly getting a name for themselves as purveyors of crunchy, roughed up techno that is joyously at odds with the slick by-the-number sounds which seem to define their city of origin these days. Venezuelan artist Phran fits well into the ethos with his second EP for the label, and while 3000 Modes may not be quite as wonderfully grimy as last years Bad Format EP, there is more than enough here to keep you bouncing.
Straddling the dirty ground between loose machine funk and something altogether warmer and more measured, 3000 Modes is a clatter of dirty beats and little whooshes of melody that holds the line with a grin. From the opener, Basical’s, deep, tribally, yet under-the-waves house which rolls with dusky glimmer to Alberca’s fractured breakbeat and bubbling melody 3000 Modes has the feel of a record rich with the sort of exploratory invention where the grooves erupt from unexpected angles. Interestingly, the only track where this doesn’t tend to happen, Baba Stilts and Samo DJ’s mix of Basical is also the weakest; a long slab of late night house. It’s not a bad track, but it’s one which feels that too much has been straightened out, and the necessary kinks that allow the original to work its charms have been lost in the translation.
My stand out here is Ayoo, a swampy and bass heavy dirty faced urchin that kicks the machine funk down a gear until it’s becomes a wobbling, loose little thing that goes on its merry little way until, out of nowhere, it’s washed over by a little tide of 80’s stadium synths. Understated and lost in its own moment, not unlike the whole EP perhaps, and all the better for it.