Monday, 8 February 2010

Erik XVI - Stern-Gerlachs Versioner [Highpoint Lowlife]

Leaving aside for a second the fact that their recent string of unique releases has been well and truly salivated over in these very pages, it does feel necessary to place some emphasis on Highpoint Lowlife’s latest. They've managed to bring together a sort of alternative all-star line up [Editor’s note: by which it’s possible to read: ‘followed with interest by me, perhaps not to the same extent by a large percentage of the population’] to remix Erik XVI’s Stern-Gerlachs Forsook EP. A surprisingly coherent listen, due to the source material’s common themes of melody and mood, it serves as an emphatic reminder of the considerable hotbed of underground talent the label is associated with.

Its opener is also one of its highlights; TVO’s aptly titled Latitudinal Mix of ‘Unionens sista dagar’ picks up immediately where his Starry Wisdom EP left off. Driven by the ominous clack and scuttle of insectoid mandibles, it’s a constantly shifting slab of techno that stretches off to infinity on a trancelike locked groove. When it finally heads skyward at around the six-minute mark, a translucent wash of ambience swells to occupy every available space, summoning up the hazy ghosts of Detroit. Both Ali Renault and Bill Ambrose also reach backward towards a similar geographic region, the former’s smooth lines a strong contrast to the latter’s Drexciyan electro stammer.

The capital’s bass mutations are well represented in the form of two polar opposites – Hot City’s sleazy, neon-lit garage and an ultra-minimalist, stripped back version of ‘Kalabaliken i Bender’ by Infrasonics bossman Spatial. Consisting of little more than brittle electronics and blank pulses of sub-bass, like the rest of his music it takes the structure of two-step to its logical extreme – stark and withdrawn, save a lone female voice crying into the void. It’s placing alongside Gravious’ absolutely immense Anti-Gravity Mix only serves to further emphasise both tracks’ considerable charm, as well as doing a neat job of highlighting the sheer diversity of interpretations on show here. Delectable stuff.

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