Transparent Sound – What Is Your Name EP (TS19-02)

Reviewed By: Roger Versey

25 years ago, 1994 something happened in Bognor…that is the realization and official formation of one of the UK’s longest purveying pioneers of the electro underground, Transparent Sound. The duo, which consists of Martin Brown and Orson Bramley, dropped their first EP ‘Meltdown Ride’ on their own self-titled Transparent Sound label by 1995.

Since then, in addition to their own labels Transparent Sound and they’ve released on the legendary Electrix Records, Pressure Trax, the highly respected Groovepressure label, Aubrey’s 30 years and still running, excellent Solid Groove label, as well as Colin Dale’s Abstrakt Dance label, and several others, including two amazing releases with Karoshi and the legendary Kurt Baggaley on his Scape One Bandcamp site. With that said, we highly recommend you check their back catalogue and seek out the machine funk.

Transparent Sound releases are harder, tougher edged electro with elements of industrial atmospherics, vocoders, and cyber dripped dystopian Detroit electro vibes. Indeed, this has been their style of choice since the 90s and they remain lovingly faithful to it with their new ‘What Is Your Name?’ EP single. The track comes in three variations; a vocal mix, an instrumental, and a remix courtesy of the highly talented (yes, this guy is also an aircraft pilot!) Acidulant who has released on Balkan Vynl, Jack Trax, Complex Sound Sagacity, Acid Allstars, Pinkpube, Cannibald, and several others over a current span of 11 years. So without further ado, let’s get into the Review of TS19-02…a floor banger for the electro game, ‘What Is Your Name?’.

Transparent Sound kicks things off in “never sell out” fashion with the original vocal mix of ‘What Is Your Name’. Its straight to the point hard electro as the track begins with infamous center focused 808 kicks, and 808 low tom percussive patterns riding the thumps. Next slamming 808 snare drums, and dark eerie space synth chords of also of the Roland variety come through the door welcomely to begin the creation of a complete portrait in beautiful yet dark dystopian electro aesthetics. Very well done, how shortly after this intro, the track goes beatless allowing the dark synths, icy bassline and melody of the track to seep deep into your mind, complete with spacey synth beeps and echoed and delayed vox vocals asking “What Is Your Name”? right before the slamming electro drums drop back in to keep the affair going.

Don’t be afraid of the deep; this is a lovely dark affair as those cool vox samples continue throughout along with evolving synth modulations that give this track an epic movie like feel. As only seasoned and special artists can do to listeners, you’ll find yourself delightfully lost in its atmosphere and jamming electro mechanics as the groove goes on. You’ll even get to hear those early 90s like eerie G-Funk synths around 3 minutes into the track for your emotional well being as well. Clocking in at close to 7 minutes, it’s length and dark delicacies make it high on the deep factor, perfect for the middle of that right night DJ set or that dancefloor heat that will make you sweat, as the hard electro continues until its final seconds of space beep filled ambience.

And for your reassurance purposes, TS follows this up next with an instrumental, minus the vox loops, allowing the hardware to be put on full display with the elements discussed above; and

both versions will work if real electro is order of the day on your music menu and of course at the loveliest of underground venues.

‘What Is Your Name?’ is a mighty fine delivery from Transparent Sound, and proves this isn’t a comeback; indeed they never stopped bringing the quality and keeping real electro alive since the big ‘95.

The dark ride continues on the flipside with the Acidulant remix of ‘What Is Your Name?’ And likewise, Acidulant’s interpretation is all about serious floor devastation. Acidulant’s remix drops in prompt manner with a straightforward electro drum rhythm characterized by 808 bass kicks and 808 snares layered underneath by claps, creating a sharper sound of drums with Detroit nodding flavor.

In addition,the main dark synth melody chords from the original makes a welcome return, this time analogue accented with proper 303 acid bass synth stabs that keep the groove traveling through your ears worm style, and show us why they call this talented artist Acidulant. There’s also plenty of atmosphere here, created with ghostly pads fading in and out that surely will frighten you and enlighten you, whilst scaring away posers who think music is about image and social media likes….Yikes!…

This mix has a building nature, and hits its peak with dark synth arpeggios that travel perfectly over this dystopian electro terrain, of layered snares and 808 rimshots. It’s a true acid remix of the original, absent of vox but instead allowing acid communication through deep squelches and stabs via the 303 box. Breakdowns fluctuate throughout; some beatless, taking time to bring you back into the groove while others use modulated snare sounds to bring it back in the dramatic way. Either way, the Acidulant remix of ‘What is Your Name?’ is the lysergic solution if deep acid electro is your order of the day. It’s a top quality remix as it makes nods to the original while taking on the character of a Deep floor banging acid monster of its own that should keep your minds blown.

Overall, great work on display in ‘What Is Your Name?’ as Transparent Sound and Acidulant do quite a fine job of delivering straightforward electro with analogue synths and innovative atmospheres that provide both dancefloor and mental appeal for the Real. Transparent Sound has been delivering this type of quality for 25 years, straight from the Roland machines and you can hear their influences in several underground British and American electro projects over the years, indeed proving they are quite nutritious for your loving ears.

More to come is definitely something we should look forward to, as Transparent Sound have maintained a high quality of longevity that only a select few can do. Transparent Sound delivers us a dark joyride of deep industrial tinged, cyber dripped dystopian electro surfaces, while Acidulant provides a great remix soaked in analogue acid for your audio baptism purposes. The end result is that both versions of the track will make the quite the impression on your mind leave the masses far behind.

For this release both vynl and digital are options, so you can bump it in your cars this summer and make posers roll their windows up or play it loud on wax in the clubs like a real DJ that –

doesn’t give a_ ‘What Is Your Name?’ now available, and ready to be spun and step up your true electro game. Sorry, this is hard electro not for the posers or lames.