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Aquadrop – Aurora Borealis review

Italian producer Aron Airaghi already has a number of releases under his belt since he dropped the first part of his Aquadrop EP on Eight: FX late last year. Subsequent releases on Trenchant Dubs and Abstract Logic throughout the first half of 2010 have allowed him to form his own distinctive take on the two-step/dubstep sound. Having gained the attention of Starkey, El-B, B Rich, Doctor P and more, Aquadrop is someone we’ll undoubtedly be hearing a lot more about in the future. Hot on the heels of his June release on Trenchant Dubs, is his debut artist album, Aurora Borealis, released on the label upon which he initially cut his teeth.

The title is an apt reflection of what this debut holds. “Theme From An Abstract Cinematic Love Scene” sounds like a modern day Keats poem and is dominated by coloured swathes of sound, fading in and out in shimmering waves of synthetics, atmospherics and SFX.

After this abstract entrée, though, “I Put A Bell On You” comes with a degree of surprise; slurping, gurgling squiggles are supplemented with squelchy bass. Keeping things varied, “Champion Dub” adds a soulful touch to the proceedings. Other notable moments include the rough percussive “Hyper” with reverberating vocals, rather like James Blake’s “CMYK” but more subdued, and album’s title track, which incorporates ‘90s computer game-style bleeps over some more blissed out, romantic harmonies and rattles in the textured soundscape. The final track, “China Girl”, could almost be a track from Guido, Ramadanman or Dark Sky with its woozy, synth-soaked, melodic vibe, dominated by instrumentals and crisply articulated breaks. Opening up a world of possibilities, Aquadrop stands at the edge of the earths axis, looking out over many dimensions of the 140bpm genre which are explored in the Aurora Borealis.

Belinda Rowse