Thursday, 20 May 2010
PRE-ORDER: Dark Arx – Blood Vein EP [Dark Arx]
After the head-oriented spaces of Dark Arx Recordings’ first release, Binary Sequence’s underrated 'Below The Ice' 12”, the label’s second plate shifts towards a more overtly dancefloor-aimed aesthetic whilst retaining a strong connection. This coherence is largely mood-related: Binary Sequence managed to create an incredibly tangible sense of dissociation with the bare minimum of elements, all awash in static crackle. Dark Arx’s own Blood Vein EP keeps the same mournful feel but ramps up the pace, locking a restrained textural palette to driving post-garage patterns that manage to simultaneously bring to mind techno’s rigidity and the hip-swinging flex of two step.
There’s a distant loneliness to the largely beatless closer ‘Argent & Sable’ that brings to mind some of Sigha’s more minimalist productions, but shorn of rough edges it exudes a sense of calm quite different from the unease a track like Sigha’s ‘Bruised’ evokes. Instead all three tracks on here move like liquid: riding on basslines that are far less viscous than those of many of Dark Arx’s contemporaries, both ‘Blood Vein’ and ‘Streak’ appear to ebb and flow effortlessly. ‘Streak’ is worthy of particular mention, its subtly harmonised synth pads drifting over a beat that shuffles like one of Hessle’s best, rolling for an all-too-short six minutes. The result is an EP that feels far shorter than its runtime, and an intriguing successor to the label’s last twelve.
Words: Rory Gibb