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- DJ Ultra Greatsword by Clouds
9/10 Ant Staff review, 08 September 2016
A few years ago I was on a dancefloor, Dave Clarke was spinning and this tune came on that blew my mind. To make sure it’s actually, genuinely a cracker of a tune, you have to do the “listen to it when you’re not off yer nut test”. It took me a while to track it down but in the end, turns it was by Clouds - the duo of Calum Macleod and Liam Robertson. And sure enough it was a proper belter in the cold light of day. The pair hail from UK techno capital Glasgow and have an idiosyncratic, fresh vision of the music.
After a slew of releases on Turbo, Soma, Fifth Wall, Speedy J’s Electric Deluxe and a cassette on Opal Tapes, they arrive on sister label Black Opal for a take no prisoners 4-track EP that’ll be a powerful tool in any slammin' techno DJ’s arsenal…
‘Petlock’ gets straight to work with industrial strength kicks and rattling breakbeats like a jungle/ techno mutant hybrid rave on the Deathstar. When the sub bass hits - you get a bonus full body massage. ‘Madstalker’ is ultra-intense, twitchy, manic and densely loaded with layers of splintered drum shrapnel and malfunctioning machine sounds, giving a claustrophobic feeling of trying to escape a core meltdown in a Nuclear power plant on Mars in the year 2065 where slave droids decide to become martyrs and reap revenge on the scourge of the human race by destroying their masters- wiping them out via a radioactive explosion.
The energetic ‘Ultra’s In Africa’ pounds hard as Jeff Mills circa 'Waveform Transmission's. What’s great about this track and the Clouds sound in general is their palette is essentially familiar but at the same time you can tell they’ve spent a lot of time fine tuning the sound so when you hear a kick drum - you don’t go like “oh yeah, that’s a 909” you go “shit! There’s a herd of cyborg elephants launching out of the speakers, and their gonna trample me to death”. Or bits of percussion are like shards of broken glass and not simply hi-hats.
Last tune ‘T-Mobile Ekstraklasa’ is my fave track on the EP - a dual assault of pleasure and pain. The percussion mercilessly pummels away at me as though I’m a rock being chiseled by sound into some sort of sculpture, chips of stone shooting off me in clouds of dust. Then a gorgeous, blue phantom like synth hovers out, enveloping me, wraps me up and ascends, upwards into the divine realm -- pure fucking bliss.
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