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Arp 101 – Dead Leaf review

Out on Eglo, the label set up by fellow futuristic funksters Floating Points and Alexander Nut, comes this wonderfully crafted debut from producer Arp 101. Whether he’s referencing the catalogue of galaxies or just the make of synthesiser in calling himself “Arp” we don’t know, but it could easily be both.

After a blustery intro, “Dead Leaf” breaks out into a sick 100bpm wonky beat, with slaps and kicks falling over themselves but generally given enough room for the funk to really shine. The bassline is thoroughly liquid, some understated reverse echo parts divide up every 32 bars and some vibrated, hi-octave and long-release┬ástring synths play out a discombobulating melody that only adds to the sense that this is an R&B record made by very mischievous robots. Wafer thin vocodered vocals are finally added to the stew, though mainly for colour rather than any lyrical insights – but heck, we’re not complaining when the results are as bumping as this.

“Warriors Galactic” is just as down low and warped out – this time with an even sparser beat of gated old-school drum machine hits. Fat analogue synths play the bass, which has a refreshingly unsequenced, live feel to it, while a shiver of buzzy vintage pads and synths slowly rise over the mix. It’s instrumental and all over the shop, but that adds to its charm in a way – and certainly to its head-nodding credentials. These are both tunes to get lost in, so rich and deep are the arrangements and sounds, and short of Biggie coming back from the dead to rhyme over them, couldn’t get much better.

Oliver Keens