Mount Liberation Unlimited – (Eerie) For Your Love
Ever since the early days of Chicago jack-tracks, live improvisation has been a popular pursuit for those who create house music with hardware. The benefits of the method to those who master it are obvious, most notably the attractiveness of creative spontaneity it affords (see the Magic Mountain High and Reagenz live shows for proof), and the energy captured in straight-to-tape performances.
Both of these aspects have thus far proved constants in the work of Mount Liberation Unlimited, a Swedish duo whose superb 2014 debut 12”, Astro Travelling Through Life, set an impressively high benchmark. Released on Mr. Tophat’s Junk Yard Connections label, the EP emerged through many happy hours spent jamming with their collection of synths and drum machines, recording the results, and making some kind of sense of the resulting tapes. A similarly attractive sense of looseness, fuzziness and keen grasp of both mood and melody ran through the duo’s subsequent release, Trail To Life Goes Up, for Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fantastic Man’s Superconscious label.
It’s unsurprising that Tim Sweeney was keen to bring Mount Liberation Unlimited to Beats In Space. The tracks he’s chosen for release, supposedly developed from ideas first stumbled upon during the live shows, are every bit are spellbinding as their previous output. Intriguingly, they seem even more dazzlingly positive and saucer-eyed than previous excursions, drawing influence as much from classic Floating Points and the colourful, Scandolearic releases of Prins Thomas’ Full Pupp label as tried-and-tested deep house.
The Floating Points comparisons are most relevant to the title track, “(Eerie) Four Your Love”. Like much of Sam Shepherd’s finest work, the track stretches out over ten minutes, rising and falling attractively whilst subtly changing shape and focus through. The drum machine percussion is bold, distorted, energetic and restless – a kind of jammed-out jack-track with additional percussion hits firing across the sound space at regular intervals – and the bassline warm and rich. It is the dense layers of synthesizer melodies layered on top of this notable foundation that makes the track so alluring.
There are periods of calm, where drowsy chords and synthesized harp flourishes take over, but these merely serve to highlight the rushing brilliance of their main melodic refrain, which is ear-catching, memorable, and is expressed in a number of ways across the track’s ten-minute duration. It all adds up to something that doesn’t try too hard to be breathtakingly attractive, but nevertheless sparkles in crystal clear, high definition.
“Maiden Voyage” is arguably better, despite showing a more understated side to Mount Liberation Unlimited. Slower, deeper and more spaced-out, it eschews the charged-up, toddler-on-squash pace of the A-side in favour of a calmer style of mood enhancement. The machine drums still rattle, the bassline bubbles, and the electronics glisten in the moonlight. Yet behind this Scandolearic style, arpeggio-driven positivity – and these notable synth riffs get ever more prominent as the track progresses – lies pads and chords that seemingly yearn with melancholic intent. For all of the eyes-closed, head-in-the-clouds brilliance, improvisational method, and lo-fi electronic instrumentation, “Maiden Voyage” seems cut from a different cloth to its predecessor. Either way, it’s stunning, and that’s all that really matters.
A1. (Eerie) For Your Love
B1. Maiden Voyage