Returning after a whopping 17 year hiatus, Porter Ricks are back. The duo return with Shadow Boat EP, a deeply nuanced comeback that explores unfathomable ambience. Glitchy and gurgling synths ebb away across the 3-track offering, which concludes at the pulsating, dancefloor-ready Harbour Chart.
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Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig return as Porter Ricks, following a seventeen year retreat. The duo’s mid-late 90’s productions on Basic Channel’s Chain Reaction, Mille Plateaux, and Force Inc. labels are cherished to this day. I think it’s fair to say they hold something of a legendary, underground, cult status - and so their re-emergence with a new 12” after all those years, and word of a follow up, also for Berlin techno institution Tresor, is going to be met with open arms by balding fans of experimental leaning, dub tinged techno.
Thankfully the ‘Shadow Boat’ EP doesn’t disappoint - it stays true to the original Porter Ricks sound whilst displaying those years haven’t been wasted - the duo have clearly been fine tuning their skills and embracing developments in technology. These three new cuts bare the duo’s hallmark nuance and reveal more detailed, intricate sound design then we’ve heard previously.
And now, my friends, it’s time to crank this motherfucker up… Porter Ricks are back in aquatic mode with this EP, opening with the titular ‘Shadow Boat’ which wastes little time in plunging us deep into an eerie, spectral groove that’s submerged in multiple layers of mutating, bubbling, gurgling liquid electronics. It feels something like riding onboard a one-man submarine to the ocean floor - it’s lights illuminating the ghost of an ancient shipwreck. Part melodic, armchair ambient techno/ part low-ceiling, smoke and strobes techno bunker.
‘Bay Rouge’ is a lower tempo creeper, with the type of spacious production Monolake often deploys. A skeletal drum rhythm gently propels the track, while layers of shimmering ambient washes dissolve and glisten amidst reverberating metallic hits that clank, crunch and evaporate. This cut aint gonna set the world alight, but it does the job.
‘Harbour Chart’ resonates with me where ‘Bay Rouge’ was slightly lacking. A gorgeous, darker more subdued, slow moving track with deep sub bass, that feels something like a dirge for the drowned. There’s a real sense of sadness lurking in the partially buried, almost modern classical edge to the haunting ambience, that recalls Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS productions. Seemingly constantly evolving swooshes of static sound animate the track like some kind of primitive language - communicating something that can’t be explained, but can easily be felt. Fingers crossed their next release is an album...
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