Reviewed By:Matt Server
Out now on Verdant Recordings – Rate of Expansion a four track EP pressed on 180g 12” vinyl with a full printed sleeve (resident artist Sophie O’leary features once again)
Verdant Recordings serve up their third release to date, standards are high after Emerald City and Aura. These were both multi artist EP’s, featuring the likes of Mihail P, Leigh Dickson, and Havantepe to name a few. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you check these two essential cuts out. VR came to be, off the back of the Emerald City limited run of lathe cut vinyl, which sold out almost immediately and became Juno’s coveted ‘single of the week’ back in September 2016.
This prompted a fully pressed edition which also quickly sold out. Andy Green – ‘old head’, dancer, clubber, collector of 30 years and “bit part” DJ is the energy behind Verdant Recordings whose MO is to release honest, deep and interesting music across the electronic spectrum from all continents. In this over saturated modern world where any man and his dog can bang out a ‘tech house’ track and get it on beatport, VR offers you quality over quantity.
Another thing atop VR’s list is giving opportunity and platform to upcoming artists, Mihail P immediately springing to my mind and this being Aos’ 1st vinyl release.This third release strays slightly from the multi artist format and this time we have a collaboration from just two artists, Aos & Sonitus Eco. Aos aka Kayla Waldorf is a Seattle based techno DJ & producer affiliated with the secondnature collective. Sonitus Eco is a DJ/producer hailing from Malta. Real name Justin Meli, he is a synth collector and heavily influenced by early industrial electronic music. He is also owner of Haar Records which he started in 2015 with Serial Depth.
This release features a track from each artist which was then reconstructed by the other. What a fantastic concept – you could literally have a label dedicated to this single idea! ‘Rate of Expansion considers existential themes and ideas concerning our place and time in the universe.’ – from the press release. I don’t know what it is about techno that lends itself so well to ideas of space, time and the universe, but when artists get it right and you get those headphones on, it certainly does transport you away.
The A side is dedicated to the track Hubble, the original and then the reconstruction. The original starts with a subtle yet firm four/four kick, surrounded by atmospheric pads, and spacey, dubbed out, metallic echoes. Next an acidic bassline interacts with track as if an alien lifeform trying to communicate with it. Subtle builds and drops in intensity and volume of the pads and spacey echoes compliment the acid bassline that comes back in, which is now stronger, and then a more intense percussive element comes in. Awesome, deep, dubby, atmospheric piece of electronic music.
The reconstruction, Hubble Red Shift, is a four/four, deep melodic techno cut. A solid kick, echoing stabs, pads and then tougher electronic stabs including an acidic stab, morph as the percussion increases. Nicely programmed, it builds and drops throughout but keeps the story of the original. The track title conjures up thoughts of travelling through to the unknown parts of space, this track could soundtrack part of that journey, atmospheric and driving. A fantastic reconstruction, when listened to together you can hear the elements of the original, this feels like it continues from the original, almost like a natural progression from the deep and dubby to the more driving.
The B side presents Supernova. This is another four/four techno cut. This time the subtle bass gives it instant head nod, then an almost classical melody feels like it is being poured over the top. Then in comes the percussion almost like a distant 808 electro percussion line has got caught up around the edge of this supernova. I love the progression of this, some really nice not obvious builds and drops, loads more elements including pads come in and out without it ever feeling crowded. A very well executed track. 100% will be in my box.
The last track of the EP, and reconstruction of the previous track, Supernova Blue Shift. This starts pretty much from the off with a melodic, almost melancholy bassline, swamped, almost drowning in hopeful,mysterious sounding pads. Percussion builds and drops around these two competing elements. This is a very original sounding, interesting track, and a great way to round off a third incredible release from VR.
I love the concept of this release, and what these artists have produced is amazing, Verdant Recordings joins a small list I have of labels where I will just buy whatever they put out because I know I can trust them.