Thursday, 6 May 2010

RECOMMENDED: Illum Sphere – Go Killum/Technopolis/Titan [3024]

The eighth release on Martyn’s 3024 label comes from Manchester beat technician Illum Sphere who has been responsible for some killer off-centre hip-hop instrumentals on Fat City Recordings and the Hoya:Hoya club night; joining the dots between the fringes of dubstep and hip-hop in fine style with the likes Martyn rubbing shoulders with Flying Lotus, Dam-Funk and Ikonika. It’s his second outing on 3024 after remixing Martyn’s beat-less surge ‘Brilliant Orange’ from what was essentially an instrumental segway on his fantastic album Great Lengths, but in Illum’s hands it was flipped and extended into a full, pulsing, emotional slab of atmospheric beat work. This platter carries on very much in that vein.

The crackle fest that is ‘Go Killum’ gets things off to a good start, fitting somewhere between Flying Lotus, Actress and Kyle Hall, bumpin’ with a skeletal yet warm soundsystem funk. The sound of being lost, driving around a city at night; as the light trails fly past, you feel apprehensive but at home in your motor, heaters on stereo turned right up.

The low-slung magic of ‘Technopolis’ isn’t too dissimilar to the Flying Lotus workout ‘Disco Balls’ from Hyperdub’s ‘5’ compilation: in that it’s got off-kilter slow and punchy house grooves and a funky as hell synth bass groove that has that warm tweaked-out buzz. It’s an altogether more spaced out affair, putting emphasis on the crackle, atmospheric pads and jazz-house subtleties whilst the drums get the head nodding as layers of sub bass squirm in all directions. The energetic synth surges of ‘Titan’ pick up the pace and bring a dose of euphoria to the platter as digital crickets chirp like sprites in a computer game night time scenario.

Words: James Balf
Out: Monday 10th May


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