Reviewed By: Matt Sever
Forthcoming on Verdant Recordings, two slabs of beautiful 140 gram vinyl featuring a track list curated by the main man himself, label boss – Andy Green. The artists featured are – Bluetrain, SUBSEQUENT, Domenic Cappello, Stojche, Gauss, XDB, Leonid and Life Recorder. This is melodic, dubbed out techno at its best.
I have reviewed a couple of Verdants releases, so I won’t go into too much detail on the label or Andy Green. What I will say is that this is a fantastic label centred around quality not quantity and has no interest in current trends. If you are a true electronic music lover, then I recommend you check out the back catalogue as well as Andy himself. I really rate this label and Andy’s vision with it. There are two more things worth mentioning about this release. Firstly, the artwork – the full printed sleeve is courtesy of Ulf & Fleur and the first 100 copies sold will contain exclusive artwork from them. Secondly this was mastered by the inimitable Keith Tenniswood.
Bluetrain kicks things off with an absolutely beautiful dubbed out, deep as you can get hypnotic techno cut called Sleeping With The Enemy. Simply amazing. The beat steps up and down in a slow rhythmic half step type way, the sporadic chords delay around your mind, sometimes close sometimes far, sometimes bright, sometimes dull, a vocal sample reveals itself occasionally too. I love this.
S U B S E Q U E N T aka Rick Hopkins serves up a solid four/four journey into techno deepness called Diode. Chord stabs, subtle percussion changes and progression, a background noise almost like static but elusive gives the track a drive and intensity. Expert.
Domenic Cappello gives us Not a Festival Track (Basement Mix). Domenic is one half of Subculture which has been running in Glasgow’s Sub Club for over 20 years and is also co-founder of Seventh Sign Recordings. Slightly tougher four/four techno here, growly bassline jerks up and down and along, giant filtered stabs roll over the beats. This track does things you don’t quite expect, but that really work. To be expected from someone that has been on the front lines for so long. If I am lucky enough to play a basement any time soon, I will definitely play this!
Stojche – Decipher Language. This picks the pace up a bit. Tempo is up, this is no nonsense techno with deep chord stabs floating over the top. Strong, clear four/four and metallic percussion is
softened by the melodic stabs and pulsing synths that ride the relentless beat beneath. Great progressions. Solid.
Gauss aka Natan H and Owen Jay bring us Aperture. This is fantastic, out there, different. Gentle hopeful pads lead us in, bass is moving around somewhere in there, some weird noises like electronic water splashing in space, then the hats bring some sense to it. Then all sense seems to disappear, then it comes back. The programming of the beats and percussion in this is awesome. No formulaic builds and drops here, proper music for the mind. Headphones on loud, dark room, it’s a trip. Clever, intense, hypnotic, music for the mind.
XDB aka Kosta Athanassiadis contribution is Satimak. This is a driving track, not in an over the top full on techno way, but in a mesmerising, relentless, almost locomotive way. An amazing build from the initial four/four beat, sparse percussion, and what sounds like robotic, future beings communicating in the background. Around a third of the way in pads build and drop, and then an epic yet understated bassline kicks in. This builds and drops in all the right places, and balances intelligent techno with just plain old dancefloor friendly drive. Brilliantly done.
Leonid -Woodwalk. Leonid – real name Paul Smith (not that one!) delivers a cracking offering to the EP. Woodwalk starts with a four/four, bassline, synth stabs and from there the layers build. Andy certainly has an ear for this! This is yet another artist that can ride that line between techno, deepness, drive, intelligent electronic music all with an eye on the dancefloor, without it ever sounding overcrowded or too much. A sublime acid line really shows itself about three quarters of the way through. Amazing track.
Life recorder rounds things off with True Moments. Life Recorder is Kriss Kortz hailing from Marseille. This is superb. Analogue sounding, four/four, pads, and a simply divine piano roll cascades down over the beats every so often. Brilliantly programmed, this builds, drops, has emotion and atmosphere, sounds timeless and is just a perfect way to round this awesome collection of electronic music.
Yet again Verdant, or more importantly Andy, bring us the finest in what the electronic music world has to offer. This has been a pleasure listening to this on repeat and trying to find words to describe just how good this is (which I don’t think I did!). I urge anyone reading this to check out every artist on this EP, as well as Verdant, Andy and every other artist he has released – a veritable treasure trove of electronic gold.