12" £11.49 PUBINF013
12" on Public Information. Hand-numbered edition of 500 copies.
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- Bugbranded EP by Bass Clef
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Apologies to folks that have been waiting on copies of this EP like 2 weeks after the release date. They only just arrived - I think someone fell asleep/ had been cryogenically frozen at the distro.
Rewind to 2006 when Ralph Cumbers first emerged as Bass Clef with his ‘Hackney Centralist’ EP on Blank Tapes. I was into the whole dubstep thing at that point and his idiosyncratic approach to the sound was so refreshing and impressed us so much that we awarded that very plate Single of the Week. In the eight years that have followed it’s been interesting hearing him grow as a musician. His current sound differs from his earlier work in that I guess he’s basically making techno these days but then techno and bass music kind of co-exist in a way these days where the boundaries have been truly blurred. I witnessed this man play live recently and he totally killed it. Anyone that thinks of electronic music shows as being boring laptop efforts should check out Bass Clef live. He’s an absolute demon on the boxes with fingers so nimble I’m sure I saw lightning bolts shooting from them.
So onto this 4 track EP for Public Information. If you’re no gear nerd then I ought to mention that the title refers to the BugBrand modular synthesizer company ran by Mr Tom Bugs whose modules Ralph is clearly making good use of for the creation of this EP. It currently seems like every man and his frog is busy tweaking modular synths or just building them to look at but how many of those folk are actually making “Tunes”. Not many at all (not counting Tom Bugs himself who did a wicked 12" on Omar S's FXHE label), with most creating soundscapes or bloopy bleepy experimental widdle fests which is all well and good but you know, it’s nice to get some tunes sometimes. This is where Bass Clef and his current setup show’s how it can and should be done.
Whilst almost strangling himself to death in a maze of patch cables he knocked out opening tune ‘Sometimes the Only Way Out is to Go Further In’ a joyous piece of good vibes analogue techno with functional kicks, funky snares, warm bass and layers of filtered melodies. ‘Elsewhen’ is very almost a dead ringer for Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Hot On the Heels of Love’ revamped with some acidic flourishes. ‘Faster Than the Speed of Love’ is a mid-tempo cut with chunky stomping drums and a riff that gets right inside your cranium and straight to the pleasure sensors. It’s somewhere between emotive Chicago acid house and Detroit techno and is a total beauty. Beneath ‘Neon Black and Vulcane’ lurks a Basic Channel / Maurizio flavoured groove around which all manner of swirling cyberdelic analogue action is happening. Across all three tracks things keep moving, loops just holding down a groove while other sounds are evolving in a constant state of flux with so much happening you never really know where things will go. This is dynamic expertly crafted techno from an immensely gifted and talented artist. Great stuff!
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