Aquarius is the new project from Tokyo native Chikuma Tsuboi who moved to Glasgow and started up some club nights in the early days of dubstep. Silke and Goth Trad are known due to his promotion of them. He has also supported Mala at The Art School and engineered for Mungo's Hi-Fi. Soulquences is sound system music ripped apart and sewn together with ambient passages, the jaggedness of grime and some hefty bass. He returned to Tokyo to finish the album, which has been a labour of love for some time. Double LP on Scrub-A-Dub.
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Glasgow via Tokyo, dub via classical, producer Aquarius is nothing if not a traveller. Moving around, whether that’s physically or otherwise, can give you a sense of perspective - a bird’s eye view if you will. From where Aquarius is standing things must looking pretty bad.
Soulquencies has been in the works for years. In that time not only has Tokya native Chikuma Tsuboi been busy producing, but also listening. His debut synthesises the likes of dubstep, grime, and trap, while adding the kind of flourishes only an outsider can. The resultant tracks are heavy, patient, and most of all moody. It takes all the way to final track ‘Wow’ ito find anything that isn’t bereft of hope and if I’m being honest I might just be reading into the track title.
Dread of course is not uncommon in the genres Tsuboi is drawing from. It feels particularly powerful here though because these tracks, regardless of their creators intentions, are more suited to home listening than in the club. At the very least you’re unlikely to hear them in a club after about midnight. Whatever the music you’re listening to, the power of the dance can draw out the euphoria in almost any piece of music. At home, it’s a lot easier to get introspective.
This isn’t the record’s fault though, and the attention to detail in the sound design would mean that the songs would flourish on a weighty sound system, even if they might suck all the energy out the room. Which means the album lies in an awkward midpoint. It’s too club for the home, to home for the club. Maybe there’s such a thing as too much perspective.
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