Label: Aboretum Records
Release Date: 14/04/2015
Most records struggle to stand out in the way that Drøp’s 2014 ‘Vasundhara’ EP did. Lurching broken-beat rhythms cut between churning noise, experimenting with rhythm and texture in a way that felt fresh and unchartered. To top it all the release was rounded off with a gorgeous screen printed sleeve - like a cell under the microscope, magnified with absolute clarity.
The imprint responsible, Aboretum, have finally got round to releasing their second 12”. This time label head Marco Berardi aka Mogano is the author of the tracks, bringing something of the celestial to the label’s abstract brand of techno.
The ‘Sycomore’ EP is laced with eastern timbres, sweeping cinematically between Berardi’s off-kilter drum patterns. Take opening track ‘Retama’. Drenched in echo and reverb, a haunting string motif dances hazily between the track’s ambling, sparsely placed rhythms. ‘Anunnaki’ picks up pace considerably, whilst still following a similar format. The drums here feel more muscular and cemented, yet the wave of ringing steel pan atmospherics still refuse to give way under Berardi’s thundering toms.
Downwards signee Samuel Kerridge’s interpretation of the track on the other hand belies anything previously recognisable. It is ‘Anunnaki’s snarling, devilish cousin - sounding as if it had been spat from an exhaust pipe, blackened by smog. Kerridge’s warped vocal textures and steady motorik drum patterns vaguely recall the likes of Throbbing Gristle or The Normal, bringing something of the noisier sub-sects of the new-wave scenes to the platter.
The climax of the release, ‘Sycomore’, comes right at the end as you might expect. What you might not have expected however is the sheer force of Berardi’s closing offering. The track is not listened to so much as felt - sub loaded kick drums pummelling the listener into a state of submission.
Aboretum have had their fair share of problems when it comes to pressing records. The latest release follows around twelve months after their debut by Drøp - delays with their pressing plant leaving the label with a tortuously long wait between releases. With this in mind, the release of Berardi’s ‘Sycomore’ EP is all the more gratifying, taking on the feat of matching the first record’s dizzying quality, and doing a fine job of it.