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- New Roof EP by Karen Gwyer
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I have a cassette by this lady on Opal Tapes that I really dig but for some reason haven’t got round to picking up her ‘Needs Continuum’ LP for No Pain In Pop. I’ll most certainly be rectifying that after hearing this 12” (her fourth release on the label no less) as I’m well into it. This Michigan native creates a dense highly immersive strain of techno that’s a proper journey. As soon as I heard opener ‘Lay Claim To My Grub’ I was immediately sucked in. It blossoms slowly from the longing, searching swells of opening synth and gradually introducing congas and hi-hats while the emotional resonance of the synths continues to unfold as they swirl until reaching a dense haunted techno-scape gently propelled by lots of intricate funky drums until at its peak it really sparkles and is utterly gorgeous deep Detroit flavoured psychedelic techno/ house reminding me of very early Carl Craig circa Psyche. Towards the end the drums make an exit leaving the synths to drone and fade away. A total bliss-out tune throughout.
A brief melancholy organ piece called ‘Nail Bars Of The Apocalypse’ breaks the EP in half and we then get ‘Mississippi’ which gets going with a sinister John Carpenter-esque gloomy synth and washes of sweeping synthetic wind building the tension before bubbling electronics and a slow, sludgy kick emerges and we’re in gloomy downbeat techno territory. The introduction of a melodic loop transforms the mood giving it a more astral feel and then dubby elements appear making it really spaced out and sinister. A super talented producer at the controls here making her vision clear and effortless to interpret. She paints alternate worlds/ zones that I could happily spend the rest of my days in. This is exactly where I want to escape to late at night - great techno.
I somehow missed Gwyer’s debut ‘Needs Continuum’ for No Pain In Pop. Don’t really know how I managed that but anyway, on to the newy. ‘New Roof’ features to extended jam of an explorative techno nature both clocking in at around 15 minute mark. ‘Lay Claim To My Grub’ is a rich psychedelic affair featuring epic synth work over a busy polyrhythmic pulse. Sounds analogue, live and contemplative whilst still being beat heavy enough to get down to. It’s complemented by a short synth outro entitled ‘Nail Bars Of The Epocal’ that ends the side in a Boards Of Canada-esque manner.
Flip it and we’re treated to the super spooky Tangerine Dream style ‘Mississippi’. The tracks gets off to a slow start with pulsing synths and wind machine white noise with a cyclical variation on the A-side beat eventually coming to fore and giving the loose ambient vibe a solid backbone. From there it just hangs in the air eventually subsiding as all good pseudo retro futurist soundtrack type stuff should.
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