9/10 Ant Staff review, 07 March 2014
The only box I want to put music in is my record box and yet my role as a writer here at Norman Towers in a sense dictates that I kinda have to, to some extent in order to attempt to articulate what a record sounds like to our readers. Genre references can be useful at times but so much is postmodern these days that it simply defies genre tags and has writers falling over themselves to create stupid labels like Witch House, Chill Wave and so on. The funniest one I can remember from years back was Hard-Bag which was supposed to be hard handbag house. If you don’t laugh, you’d cry.
This brings me on to the music of Nick Edwards, a man whose music will take a big shit inside any box you attempt to put it in. Like Mark Fell or Chris Douglas he’s one of a few folk currently operating in electronic music that have a truly unique and distinctive sound. His numerous influences are apparent and yet he really is carving his own path. It’s not bass music, techno, electronica, noise, electro-dub or whatever. It is its own genre and that is called Ekoplekz.
My fondness for Nick’s productions on these very pages is no secret so when I say I think this is quite possibly his finest, most well realized and refined work to date then you’d better listen up. If you’re an Ekoplekz virgin then ‘Unfidelity’ will pop that cherry very nicely. If you’re a seasoned follower you’ll hear what I mean.
There’s a lot of Ekoplekz material floating around out there and some of it is pretty grubby sounding, which I like but here things feel more polished to a certain extent which actually works a real treat. The Ekoplekz hardware setup means that the sounds aren’t tied to a computer clock and as a result there’s a free flowing and very dynamic and organic feel to the tracks as they shift and morph in unexpected ways and yet they retain a structure in the sense that they feel more like "tunes" and less like jams. I’m on my fifth listen to ‘Unfidelity’ and stuff still keeps constantly popping out at me that I’d not clocked on previous listens. Generally speaking the album is melodic and tuneful, yet still has a darkness that never becomes oppressive or claustraphobic, as he manages to nail a great balance between the bleaker sounds and some pretty catchy hooks as can be heard on ‘Severn Beach’. For example underneath it sounds a bit like Thomas Koner but then there’s lovely rich layers of head nod inducing dubby squelches and dissolving effects.
There’s tons to absorb over the 61 minutes including a mesmerising homage to Robert Rental, the gloriously deep submerged fluid electronics of ‘Coalpit Heath’. The gorgeous ‘Tuning Out’ that somehow reminds me of Aphex’s ‘Polynominal-C’. The appropriately cheeky titled closer ‘Sleng Zen’ is a super lush and totally blissed out astral digi-dub mutant that could go on forever...
Ace stuff throughout and comes in a beauty sleeve with artwork by the one and only Zeke Clough. Highly recommended.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Unfidelity by Ekoplekz
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