Six releases deep, London-based label Yumé have been drip-feeding us nourishing house and techno for the last three years or so, such as the excellent “The Beacon/The Fear” single from Neinzer last year. The Kel EP is their latest, coming from Glasgow’s Hi & Saberhägen, a duo who already have releases on Truants faves Proibito and Huntleys & Palmers behind them. It’s a wonderful fare of horizontal, contemplative club music. “Saint Bardot’s” psychedelic charm and flashes of nostalgic guitar and vocal sampling feel like nods to early Move D records. “Don’t Do It” and “Everything Is Good” are lush and melodic, the former’s hazy and sprightly bassline providing an old-school trip to the cosmos. The highlight of the record, however, is its closer, “WC122”. It seems obvious to point out Jan Jelinek’s Loop-finding-jazz-records as a reference point, but its muted and minimal beauty crafts the same atmosphere. Couple that with an incredibly deft and ever-so-slightly warped blues sample and you’ve got yourself a perfect end to a really strong EP.
Near enough a year ago we had Happa on duty for the 136th Truancy Volume. In a world of arbitrary boxes he’d go into the metal one marked techno but, as we found out in our interview, he wants to be more than that – citing influences from Danny Weed to Oneohtrix Point Never. PT3.1, a new two-tracker released on his own PT/5 label, sees his material careening out further in those directions. Lead number “Bum Trance” will take the headlines. It lures you out of your perception of time and produces a sense of perpetual, industrial motion, taking on the properties of a runaway train powered by the Shinra Electric Power Company, or Keanu Reeves onboard a vehicle set to explode if it travels slower than the speed of sound. An almost six minute-long sonic boom. On top of all that, “Hallucinations” on the B-side still bangs. Aptly titled and equally disorientating, less perpetual motion and more chaotic pulsations. If this is the start of the “weird grime” Happa said he’d love to make, then long may it continue. Another quote from the interview that accompanied Truancy Volume 136: “I’m not scared about releasing music that no one will like.” Nothing to worry about on that front.
Having come out late last year, Sage Caswell’s album Hoop Earring is an interesting beast. Opening with a beatless, ambient interlude (“Ray Of Light ’95”), it kicks off with a series of pad-heavy tracks, thick and lustrous with syncopated stabs and warm surroundings – “Introduction To WS” to being a highlight. This continues as far as track 6 (of 10), “Here We Guard Upon The Soul”, where the mood returns to ambient synthscapes. “DYC” jumps back into beat mode, while closing track “Zora Scales (Step1)” feels like the midway point of a ’90s rave mix. The quality is never in doubt, but the sequencing seems odd. It almost feels like two halves of one project, with one track each put on the wrong side. The album is apparently informed by “surrealist visions and archetypal images from Caswell’s past”, which perhaps explains the refusal to follow a more traditional route. Speaking to the Ransom Note, he suggested listening to the album in the bath. I haven’t yet done this, but the warm and silky tones that buoy the album from track to track feel like they would allow you to drift off beautifully, while the beats would ensure you don’t drift too far into sleep. Or underwater, for that matter.
While there is little publicly known about Russian producer honealome, the numerous tracks posted to his Soundcloud page speak volumes. His latest, “layer”, is an exploration in duality. Weighty bass contrasts against airy synths, while a melody drifts over an acid line. There’s an undeniable presence of the machines at work, yet it doesn’t obscure the track’s emotional resonance. “Floater (Cut)” is equally as beautiful, featuring a serene synth alongside inventive percussion. Like the sun peering through clouds, there’s a brightness to the overall sound despite the crunchy, analog drums. Another track, “Lenoire”, swims beneath the surface, diluted and flowing. The sounds blend to create some watery amalgamation, simultaneously powerful and obscure. With releases on his Bandcamp dating back to 2014, it’s a wonder why this producer hasn’t been given more attention. honealome’s experimental approach to production has yielded some truly unique and memorable tracks, and we look forward to hearing the progression of his sound.
Words by Antoin Lindsay, Matt Coombs, Aidan Hanratty and Taylor Trostle.