TM404 // Sverca Remixes
Release Date: 24/09/2014
TM404 is a conceptual project imagined by Andreas Tilliander of quality Swedish label Kontra-Musik. The project aims to explore the potential of the classic Roland instruments responsible for so much of dance music past and present: venerated analogue machinery such as the 303 and the 808. According to the press on the Kontra website, Roland never made a ‘404’ due to superstitious executives concerned about similarities between the number four and the Japanese word for death. The naming of the project may also be a nod to the internet 404-error message, where a website is ‘dead’, or the link to it broken. TM404 saw Tilliander carving out fantastically novel, textural electronic dub pieces - recorded in one-take live sessions with no overdubbing; they represent a coming together of techno’s futuristic preoccupations with the historical attention to detail of a passionate archivist.
Svreca, owner of ubiquitous spanish label Semantica, is the perfect fit for a remix EP of TM404 – so perfect, in fact, he managed five unique interpretations. The points of connection between Tilliander and Svreca are many: glacial electronic dub with a focus on exploring the gritty textural possibilities of clinical analogue sounds – there is a palpable excitement in Svrecas’ wilful treatment of his sources. Across the EP structure is used as a skeleton on which to hang matter-of-fact polyrhythms & subtle explorations of spatiality: see the way in which B2 rockets off with its propulsive rhythm, then barely changes for the length of the track. In a less skilled producers hand, this technique could become tiresome, but Svreca clearly grasps the mesmerising potential of loop based music – in a sense this is drone-techno, as functional in repetition as it is beguiling.
The A-side of the EP clearly deals more with harmonic elements – A1’s subtle acid flutters outlining an enchanting but uneasy sonic space, while A2 feels like six minutes in purgatory’s sauna room - it’s repeated chord motif echoing out to infinity. In comparison the tracks on the B-side offset shifting polyrhythmic elements, with a single tonal centre, against monolithic kicks. This EP contains some of the purest-sounding modern techno: a heady distillation of crucial stylistic touchstones, it reaffirms Svreca as being among the best of those quietly brilliant producers; rarely properly appraised due to his prolific nature. If ‘404’ implies a broken link, then I hope it doesn’t signal the same for this match up: as a partnership it’s a fruitful one and long may it continue.
Words by James Rogers.
ANFS // Ground EP
Label: Modal Analysis
Release Date: 01/10/2014
As a co-owner of the label, Athenian producer ANFS was never going to struggle much in adhering to Modal Analysis’ sound palette. However, this shouldn’t detract from the fact his recent ‘Ground’ EP marks one of the most intriguing releases on the imprint so far. Spanning four tracks of quivering, lo-fi drones and ramshackle drums, the record inaugurates ANFS to the scene on his own terms which are to say the least, uncompromising.
Haunting Eastern melodies and dirt-plastered samples dominate the release, earth-rumbling hits breaking the tension occasionally. The result is powerful and cinematic; the structuring of the EP itself lending strong narrative, as ANFS builds to an apocalyptic close with ‘Ground#4’. Cracking drums lurch forward and back drunkenly, like the steady sway of a ship being heaved through the water by its crew. The way the track drags itself forward feels tired and downcast, in stark contrast to its sharp-edged opening tracks. Bursting through the meditative drones built up in ‘Ground#1’, ‘Ground#2’ suddenly breaks into a frenzy of spartan rhythms, jumping into action with ringing tribal drums.
Warbling synthesisers snake between ANFS’ gently pulsing bed of distortion across ‘Ground#3’, nauseatingly detuned vocals adding to the tracks already disorientating soundscapes.
Where previous Modal Analysis releases have felt almost sketch-like, seeming to take a look at the similar ideas from varying perspectives, ANFS’ EP for the label feels cohesive and meticulously thought-out. Where prior releases have included remixes to flesh out the material, the ‘Ground’ EP stands up to scrutiny without need of this – a bold move, but an ultimately rewarding one.
Words by Theo Darton-Moore.