With the gothic pop of WIFE’s “Stoic” EP and Saa’s self-titled EP, one could be forgiven for thinking that left_blank was moving away from the more dancefloor-oriented styles it promoted with its first releases in 2011. One Circle’s “Flight To Forever”, the label’s eighth release, reverses that trend. The EP comes from a triumvirate of Italian producers, Lorenzo Senni, Vaghe Stelle and A:RA, and combines a range of pulsating styles across its six tracks. Oscillating bleeps and swooning synths lead the way on the title track, a sense of lift-off prevailing throughout. Jerking screeches hint at a primitive craft struggling to make it off the ground – the feeling of different types of machinery is one that appears again and again on this EP. A lengthy track, this one seems initially to be lost in the throes of a never-ending series of awkward, triplets that seem stunted and never quite fully play out. Mechanical instruments gurgling in the background add to the sense of anticipation, until this tension is relieved with the arrival of a solid beat, nearly four minutes in. “Delta City”, meanwhile, opens with the sound of a steam engine powering along, with syncopated beats that don’t quite fit standard 4/4 patterns lending the track a disconcerting air, and that’s before the haunting riff that plays like the invasion of an army of robots. Slightly off-pitch droning adds further menace. This is challenging, unsettling listening.
Stream: One Circle – Flight To Forever (left_blank)
A deep, pitched-down vocal groans “Please” on the next track, as a hazy, trance-like wash sits over slow claps and otherworldly sirens hover overhead. It’s the brightest moment on the release, which gives a sense of the sombre atmosphere. “Wipeout” recalls 90s videogames in more than name alone, opening with sounds that recall “Food and Revolutionary Art”-era Carl Craig. That’s until African rhythms kick in and take the jam into space. It’s a proto-trance anthem, skiffling beats and epic synth washes soundtracking your astronautical racing league. The beautifully haunting “3D Immersive” closes the EP proper, with synth riffs that cry with painful yearning over a scuzzy drone that sounds like the rain that’s captured in the appropriately enigmatic video that was released last week. For digital purchasers, however, there’s an additional number that shows an all together different side to the trio. “Kadikoi Terrace” is a tongue-in-cheek refrain, with agonisingly infectious percussion and a bright, spacious chorus section that uses – shockingly – major chords. All the while the droning hum of a flight taking off undercuts this joyous mood, suggesting in a sense the titular journey setting off or coming to a close. You can be the judge. It’s very easy to put out a release with six entirely different tracks for the sake of eclecticism, and it’s just as easy for such a release to suffer on account of its lack of focus or direction. That is far from the case with Flight To Forever. left_blank continues to grow as a label, fostering new talent or providing a space for artists to follow new ventures. One Circle have proven a worthy addition to the label. In an interview with Dazed Digital, which accompanies a beautifully rendered mix, they say they plan to work together again soon, so we await such labours with great fervour.
One Circle – Flight To Forever is out now on left_blank. Buy here.