Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ekoplekz – Memowrekz [Mordant Music]

Ekoplekz first came into view via. Punch Drunk late last year and it was an unexpected and downright refreshing release for the label that acted like a pallet cleanser. Not many people expected a dubbed-out beat-less noisy analogue freak out from one of the leading lights of the, for want of a better word… dubstep scene. Peverelist’s open policy of putting out pretty much anything he’s feeling as long as you’re from Bristol paid off yet again though. When you dig a bit deeper the move makes a lot of sense, noisy freak outs aren’t to far removed from dubtsep’s outer limits as the label in question here: Mordant Music has been working with another Bristol freak from the scene Shackleton for years, he draws together those distant yarns in his own way. You can connect threads further field too: Ben UFO pretty much played a noise set the other night on Rinse, debuting some extreme guitar excursions by Andrew Coltrane from Trilogy Tapes that’s a label who’ve dropped a 12” from Dro Carey who has been known to get a bit dissonant with his sound pallet all while keeping that dance slant rolling, same goes for Egyptrixx and his noisy past you hear filter into his Night Slugs… Then you have the general love for people like Hype Williams and Forest Swords from the scene… But right now we’re concentrating on the latest long-player/double-cassette and don’t worry digital collection from Bristol’s improvisational analogue experimentalist Ekoplekz.

Memowrekz is an epic thirty three track workout of dub infused dissonant synth music, it’s a tough one to pin down. It’s the sound of the Radiophonic workshop on a bender, blazed-out taking Dr. Who on an adventure through cavernous warehouse full of abandoned synths and dub records, in some sort of alternative universe where they’ve come alive, joined forces and have minds of their own. But this time the Doctor just chills out and vibes off the mutant soundboy’s and rolls another… It’s a dystopian vision but one that draws you in, it’s dissonant but never gets overtly confrontational. Its 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, its got the synths of one and the heavy dub of the other. But that’s to simplistic… You could draw lines 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 its way more free flowing, compelling and as much as I dig last years ‘Returnal’ it seems simplistic and rigid compared to Ekoplekz. This is the album I wish that one was in some ways.

The free flowing nature of these tracks brought on by the improvisational nature of the way Ekoplekz works really shows and pays dividends. Deep synth squiggles get shaped before your eyes. Beats bubble under, when they appear at all. Echo drenched surges of noise build layers of intensity on top of the warm synth tones. It’s intertwined with the odd bass and guitar line, dropped deep into the synthetic ocean of sound. The aesthetic should surely be harder work than it is, but Memowerkz makes for a really enjoyable listen. Blissful bright passages making each tonal change in mood and texture really pop, the extremes are balanced with ease, it’ll grab you, draw you in and take you somewhere you wouldn’t expect. Ekoplekz and Mordant Music are a killer combination: wrap your ears around this.

Mix: Electronic Explorations #146: Ekoplekz

Originally written for the revamped and fresh looking:

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