Wednesday, 9 March 2011
RECOMMENDED: Ekoplekz – Memowrekz [Mordant Music]
Ekoplekz might well have first come into view via the 20th release on Punch Drunk late last year, an unexpected and downright refreshing 12" for the label that acted like a jagged edged palette cleanser. Label boss Peverelist was simply (once again) indulging his penchant for the sonic curve ball with two cuts of dubbed-out beat-less noise, fully allowing the analogue freakout. Given it probably wasn’t what the world was expecting from one of the leading lights in the, for want of a better word, dubstep scene for their landmark release, but Pev’s open policy of putting out pretty much anything he’s feeling from his surrounding Bristol geography has paid off in droves.
Upon further digging the move makes a lot of sense sonically. Noisy freakouts aren’t so far removed from dubstep’s outer limits (see The Bug and or Cloaks) and the label under the microscope here, Mordant Music, have been working alongside one of dance music’s most warped producers, Shackleton, for years. You can connect these threads further afield too, Ben UFO pretty much played a experimental noise set the other night on Rinse, debuting some extreme guitar excursions by Andrew Coltrane from Trilogy Tapes - the label who’ve dropped a 12” from Dro Carey who has been known to get a bit fractured with his samples, whilst keeping his dancefloor slant rolling – and the same goes for a producer like Egyptrixx, whose work is distressed and frayed yet decisively melodic.
Memowrekz is an epic thirty three track workout of dub infused dissonant synth music, and as such, it’s kind of a tough one to pin down. It’s a dystopian vision but one that draws you in; it’s discordant but never gets overtly confrontational. Incredibly tough to draw comparisons, the record sits somewhere within that bunch of freaks on Olde English Spelling Bee: Stella Om Source and maybe even Forest Swords; it’s got the synths of one and the heavy dub of the other. You could also draw parallels with the Not Not Fun stable: Sun Araw’s and Peaking Lights dub-psych jams, both the heavy and breezy angles... It even fits next to Oneohtrix Point Never, but in a way it's more free flowing and compelling.
The improvisational manner in which Ekoplekz works really shines and pays dividends here. His deep synthesized squiggles get shaped and treated before your ears; beats bubble up and under – when they appear at all – and echo drenched surges of noise build upon themselves atop layers of warm synth tones. Intertwining the odd bass and guitar line, dropping them deftly into the synthetic ocean of sound, Memowerkz makes for a really enjoyable listen. The blissful bright passages mark a tonal change in mood and texture and they really pop out during the full listening experience. The extremities in sound are balanced with ease though, giving Ekoplekz and Mordant Music a killer combination of industrially tinged experimental composition.
Words: James Balf
Catch Ekoplekz’s freshly uploaded mix for Electronic Explorations, show #146, here: http://electronicexplorations.org/the-show/146-ekoplekz/