Various Artists – Common
It’s always interesting to observe well-established event promoters branching out into the label world. Quite often those responsible are in an enviable position, having forged real-world relationships with their guests over the years and as such being able to call up a favour to give a fledgling label the kind of kick start that can make all the difference in an ever-increasing world of 001s. It’s fair to say that Manchester collective meandyou were able to do just that in snapping up Kassem Mosse for their first release, and in truth he gave them an absolute beast of a track, but they offset that by showcasing lesser known talents as well as their own local heroes Juniper. It was a wise move to reach for a well-known friend, and the results were exemplary, but on this second release all bets are off as the curation draws on a list of lesser-known acts and as such places the music out front.
There is a suggestion that Aatropa & Tephillin may be better known under different aliases, but either way their “Bells Jam” kicks off the second release in a magnificent style, picking up the thread of subterranean hardware house that has always been associated with meandyou and delivering a perfect demonstration of it. From the eerily seductive synth flourishes to the rugged rhythms, the pair nails the balance between brains and brawn with aplomb. Fabric takes up the second track on the A side with a more esoteric excursion, shirking beats over heavy swathes of tone and texture and weaving cosmic threads of arpeggiation through the mists in a richly melodic and somewhat monolithic ambient study that provides an apt foil to the focused thrust of Aatropa & Tephillin.
After making one of the standout cuts of the first release, Heron is back for round two with the arresting voyage of “33 Weeks”. The structure of the track moves with a gently lilting swing, but really it’s the atmospheric detail that makes this track so special, from the delicate icy chords that linger in the background to the ranging throb of the offbeat bass synth, with every element nudged off the grid for a loose and dextrous groove that sets the track apart. There’s a great sense of progression at work in the track as well, snaking its way from start to finish without lingering for too long in any once place.
Following the format of the A side, Metropolis sidles up to finish the record off with an ambient piece that plies a similar trade in mournful sci-fi tones to the Fabric effort. There is a similar spread of nebulous drones and more delicate synth lines, although the end result comes off feeling more introspective on “The Great Lake”. Whatever the case, it makes for the perfect end-note to an EP of advanced electronics that delivers exciting club-friendly material and immersive, affecting ambient tracks, suggesting meandyou have a keen ear and a desire to push some truly interesting modern music.
1. Aatropa & Tephillin – Bells Jam
2. Fabric – Split Guest
3. Herron – 33 Weeks
4. Metropolis – The Great Lake