Sunday, 16 May 2010

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

The eighth release on Martyn’s 3024 label comes from Manchester beat maker Illum Sphere who has been responsible for some killer off-centre hip-hop instrumentals for the likes off Fat City and the Hoya:Hoya club night, which has been 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 to name but a few that have passed through it’s doors. It’s his second outing on 3024 after remixing Martyn’s beat-less surge ‘Brilliant Orange’ from what was essentially a 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 and this platter carries on in that vain.

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 warm soundsystem funk. The sound of being lost, driving around a city at night. Light trails fly past, your apprehensive but feel at home in your motor, heaters on stereo turned up.

The low-slung magic of ‘Technopolis’ isn’t to dissimilar to the Flying Lotus workout ‘Disco Balls’ from Hyperdub’s ‘5’ compilation: Off-kilter slow and punchy house grooves and a funky as hell synth bass groove that has that warm tweaked-out buzz. This is an altogether more spaced out affair though, putting emphasis on the crackle, atmospheric pads and jazz-house subtleties. 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. Digital crickets chirp like sprites in a computer game night scene as you hurtle past, windows down, hair blowing, bass rumbling into the distance.

A slab of hi-tech soul from 3024, Illume Sphere keeps it warm and loose. The sound of the city on a muggy night when everything seems to be buckling under the heat, a heavy atmosphere that only lifts every time a breeze blows past elusively or you hit 50 mph in a 30 zone.

Originally written for Sonic Router.

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