Diffuse Arc/Arcanoid – Constant Pulse (Caustica Waveform)
Diffuse Arc and Arcanoid have had a fruitful few months, with a great pair of split EPs on Odio bringing a reshaped view of modern electro to the world and blending it with techno and other, wider influences. The two reappear here on Diffuse Arc’s own Caustica Waveform label to deliver a third volume of a productive partnership.
Constant Pulse puts another spin on the sound, however. Both the previous records supplied electro tempered with touches of drum n bass, Drexciyan atmospherics and Kraftwerkian machine forms. Constant Pulse moves away from that, creating an experience which is more accessible but seems all the more experimental for it. Arcanoid’s soul offering here, a roughed up, acidy Funky Heroes mounts a swinging groove on top of some loose, soulful funk. While it’s a fun, knockabout tune though, it occasionally meanders too far from the point and lacks the potency of some of his other recent releases.
The bulk of the record is from Diffuse Arc himself, and the tunes build up out of a similar old-school funk to the Arcanoid track. The difference is that the three tracks are fattened by the warmth of production which tips its hat to the era of big time, radio-friendly house so common in the 80s. There is lushness to them that ties the shuffling grooves together, and plays up the sweetness of the bass lines and pads. Set It Out in particular stands out, feeling like a lost gem from one of those Brilliant Jack Trax compilations; it grips with a quiet moodiness, working a proper chill into the music that removes it from the clutches of homage and renders a very contemporary feel. Unexpected and very, very nice.
Neil Lanstrumm – Extreme Pleasures (The Vinyl Factory)
Neil Landstrumm has most recently been down our way to scare the neighbours with his Modini colab with Hostage on DABJ and Hypercolour. While those records dealt damage with sleazy funk and a large dose of not taking themselves too seriously, Extreme Pleasures slings itself straight towards the jugular.
Although this isn’t Landstrumm entirely embracing the current vogue for hardcore and rave, he still dolls out the old-school blows, even though he injects a burst of knowingness to the proceedings which holds back the tide of techno-sentimentalism. The harder tracks, Live Slow Die Anyways and Silent Forces, kick out serrated and warped riffs with abandon, marshalling them with cold, robotic beats and letting dark side mischief hold court, even when the music veers between proper moodiness and sunny giggles.
It’s the other two tracks which really do the business though. Both A Girl Is A Gun and Night Comforts cut the murk right out and deliver a pair of late night, totally dialled in floor mashers. A Girl Is A Gun is the star though, cranking up the seductive heat, turning out every light in the house except the lasers, and slicing off every unnecessary piece of fat that gets in the way of its dirty, nasty, snaking groove.