Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S give us the 2nd LP from New York science mover Gunnar Haslam. Mirrors and Copulation has a toothpaste clean production. All shining synths, blistering drums and stone cold jack workouts. Unknown yet if his more tribal elements come into play, but L.I.E.S have made quite the name in this techno world. The truth is the truth. Out on Vinyl LP.
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- Mirrors and Copulation by Gunnar Haslam
9/10 Laurie Staff review, 03 December 2014
Judging by the title, you can only assume that Mirrors and Copulation is a concept album about inappropriately timed vanity. The main character will sing songs with catchy choruses of “ooh, check me out!” while the surrounding partners cry out in protest. A wise man once said that an instrumental arpeggio track is worth a thousand songs, but that’s wrong, because I can’t hear any of that vanity nonsense in this.
Having released material closer to the dancefloor on labels such as Mister Saturday Night in the past, (presumably) NYC resident Gunnar Haslam shares his third release on L.I.E.S, on which he debuted last year with first full-length Mimesiak. This record intersperses the more rhythmic techno pieces with ambient mashups of synth and sample to produce a pleasingly varied whole. It feels quite nicely paced, with multiple chill explorations leading to the monstrous ‘Cloud Castle Lake’ on the B side, which chugs forward with 4x4 kicks, thick bass and distant glimpses of drone chords and reverb pads. It’s fairly murky but encapsulates that ‘ah yeah’ feeling that seemingly bursts from the fire hydrants of the big apple and will no doubt make its way into late night sets. There are only 2 other instances of big kicks on this, the snail-pace minimal polyrhythms of ‘Ajapajapam Version’ whose only background texture rises to a scream, and the technicolour broken beat of album closer ‘In Argo Teurano’.
Nestled amongst these are some careful ambient meditations focusing on looped melodies, big reverbed chords and field recordings. From the peaceful plucked harmonies of ‘Brahmaputra’ to the sparsely-placed bass stabs of ‘Camare Aperte’, Haslam displays complete mastery of the soundscape, sometimes conjuring images of misty urban nights before plunging you into an overgrown temple at sunrise.
Mindful of the self indulgence that can accompany both sides of his sound, Haslam keeps Mirrors and Copulation a fairly short affair, leaving only what is necessary to convey the album’s musical message which, thankfully, isn’t a message of dirty vanity. You could probably whack this on during a saucy night in, though.
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