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Com Truise / Clark

Com Truise

 

Wave 1 is the first new transmission the world has received from producer Seth Haley since his gloriously futuristic debut album Galactic Melt. That album cataloged the genesis and evolution of Haley’s alter ego Com Truise — the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, as Haley described him — and this EP continues the character’s journey into the outer reaches of the musical multiverse. In the process, it also builds on Haley’s signature production style, one that’s rooted in classic sci-fi sounds and analogue textures but nevertheless manages to sound utterly contemporary.

The EP takes its name from the newly discovered galaxy to which the intrepid astronaut’s voyages take him, and there certainly seems to be a narrative structure to its sequencing. Opening track “Wasat” sets the scene, providing a brief, atmospheric prelude that quickly settles into an uptempo, hypercolor groove. “Mind” is an exercise in dramatic tension, its beats constantly threatening to explode into a full-fledged four-to-the-floor stomp, but never quite doing so. “Declination,” which features guest vocals from Joel Ford (Airbird, Ejecta, Ford & Lopatin), glides into your headphones like a starship slipping down out of hyperspace — it’s the EP’s most melodic moment, and perhaps the most straightforwardly melodic tune in the Com Truise oeuvre to date.

“Subsonic” is full of dramatic grandeur, marking the moment at which the EP’s initial rush of energy subsides into the sort of dramatic, slow-building textures that should really be soundtracking the birth of new stars. The track evolves through several movements, and is full of evocative electronic textures (along with one hell of a squelchy bass sound). “Valis Called (Control)” maintains the reflective mood, while “Meserere Mei” is all fractured beats and jagged textures. The title track brings the record to a close with an air of serenity, the melody line drifting away into the distance on washes of sci-fi synth sounds.

Haley described Galactic Melt as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” and Wave 1 works the same way, evoking the latest stage in the intergalactic journey of Com Truise — and leaving you wondering what corner of the cosmos he’ll visit next.

 

Clark

Music is like sculpture. It’s like trying to capture a moment of ultimate momentum, and distill it forever”. – Clark, August 2014

‘Clark’, boldly eponymous, is the Warp experimentalist’s seventh album in 13 years? climaxing a narrative that commenced with ‘Clarence Park’, the first “Clark” attributed album ‘Body Riddle’, through the Yin and Yang of ‘Turning Dragon’ and ‘Iradelphic’, and finely honed through this year’s ‘Superscope’ EP and visually intense Phosphor live show.

This is where the sounds of the machine meet the sounds of the world. A protracted club experience distilled into a cinematic, immersive whole. Clark’s chiseled vision of techno contextualized for a postrave environment the clean, cold edges of technology eroded over time to produce raw, fascinating new textures.

These textures lay the foundations for a hugely kaleidoscopic listening experience filled with warmth. Memorable songwriting packed with melody and subtle, unpredictable shifts in mood? a finely balanced mix of electronic composition, heads down techno, human nature and the environment it was created in.

“I wanted to let the weather in with this album”, Clark explains. “It’s outward looking, it’s drenched in sounds of the outside world, sounds free from human intervention: branches crackling in the wind, storms brewing, the stillness of settling snow. It’s all in there, amongst the moreish crunch of industrial machinery”.

These real world elements offer a sense of a meditation that beckons the listener to leave human desires behind. A detailed field recording of boots in snow creeps into an echo of piano house on ‘Strength Through Fragility’, swallowing up the melancholy of the melody rather ruthlessly, teasing these things out of the listener as the track progresses. The essence of the new being carved from an unheard ancientness appears throughout ‘Clark’, a tactile interaction between alien elements creating something that would not have otherwise existed.

The machines hold their own against nature: ‘Banjo’ is a straight up MPC/synth funk jam played over three notes, the hypnotic arpeggios of ‘Unfurla’ are underpinned by a solid 4/4 kick drum, peakrave euphoria is captured in ‘There’s a Distance In You’. At its essence ‘Grit In The Pearl’ is more Berghain than Guggenheim a club banger, albeit in a parallel dimension filtered through the ‘Clark’ lens, lending new context to its spiralling rave chords.

The theme of reduction, a sculpture of sound, wins out in the end. Closing beatless piece ‘Everlane’ is a cathartic conclusion to ‘Clark’, the elements ultimately refined into timeless, ethereal melodies echoing into the ages:

“It straddles this fine line of being ultimate bliss and sadness at the same time. I find this emotional terrain compelling and keep on coming back to it. I need that epic sense of closure”.

‘Clark’ will be released by Warp Records on 3rd November 2014.

 

Logan Takahashi

LLike many classically trained musicians, Logan Takahashi didn’t take the techniques he learned at Oberlin Conservatory as gospel. He bent them until they broke, then reshaped all those errant rhythms, melodies, and timbres into an entirely new language while developing widescreen dance tracks in the Brooklyn duo Teengirl Fantasy. Over the past seven years, Takahashi and his former college-mate/fellow producer (Nick Weiss) have released acclaimed records on such respected labels as True Panther Sounds and R&S, collaborated with Kelela, Laurel Halo, and Panda Bear, and scored a Blade Runner-inspired Fashion Week collection for Opening Ceremony.

They’ve been very busy, in other words. So busy, in fact, that Takahashi just finished his first solo album. I started a lot of these tracks as a way to zoom in more closely on some of the musical ideas I was exploring with TGF. When you’re working collaboratively you have to let go a little bit to leave certain things open-ended, when

you’re working by yourself you take responsibility for every sound.

It’s hard not to notice every last detail with a template as tight as NoGeo; built on the minimal backbone of an Elektron Monomachine and named after the cross-cultural compositions of Ryuichi Sakamoto, the album is alien yet aliveborderless beats with real blood coursing through its veins. No wonder why one track (“Rekr”) explores the idea that computers are made with organic material like metal, crystals, and magnets.

“I’ve always been drawn to music that exists in grey areas,” says Takahashi. “From Japan’s Neo Geo genre in the late ‘80s to Brooklyn’s tabletop electronics scene in the early ‘00s, I’ve always been inspired by the notion of subverting vocabularies and creating new ones.”

With one record down and more new music on the way, you might need a translator to make sense of it all. Or you could just let the tracks speak for themselves. Takahashi certainly has.

 

 



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