VA - Contact Lens (Cosmic Conspiracy)

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Various
Contact Lens
Cosmic Conspiracy Records (New Zealand)

I’m not sure whether I’ve ever come across anything from New Zealand before… but this is definitely something special. With artists from Australia, NZ, Denmark, Mexico, Brazil and Germany it’s definitely a wide spread, and with mostly new names (to me, anyway) it’s a pretty intriguing package whichever way you look at it. Sensient’s Lipofuct gets things moving in much the way you’d expect really – eight slowly evolving minutes of deep farken trance, getting deeper and deeper as it goes. Sensient’s on very fine form at the moment, and the “80% dub†feel that this tune has places it firmly up there among his best. Minimal Criminal’s Eulenschrei pulses through a similar vein, with the emphasis firmly on textures and psychedelic stabs echoing their way around your head. Less is most definitely more on this one. DJ Ruth’s Rats In A Maze has a bouncier vibe, more energetic and with two alternating vibes going on – one sinister, and the other a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel sunrise vibe. Bloody marvellous, in other words – the shifting in and out of each vibe is very impressive, and when it concludes on (I’d say) more of a positive tone, the feeling of a journey through the track is incredible. Psypox’s Nasty In The Pasty is a corker – it builds up delicious layers of proggy goodness, again keeping this sort of sinister-ish vibe going on. And then it breaks before shunting back in again with more high-end, hypnotising you completely and creating that rare vibe in a track that draws the dancefloor right into it, then gives them something to get excited about. Visua’s Attractor has a sort of fullon feel to it, yet keeps itself firmly in progressive landscapes – once it settles, it picks up and evolves into pretty decent, chummy prog but somehow the fullon elements make it sound a little awkward – like someone’s threatening to mix Astrix over Freq. Alfredo Garcia’s Watch Me has been on very heavy rotation here lately – a wonderfully funky guitar in the intro, a hypnotic and tight-as-a-nun’s-cnut midsection, then heading into deep Balearic classic-house territory for the finale. Bloody nice. Minimal Criminal’s Disco Shit sets out in a very aggressive way, with deep-set trance movements coupled with sleazy brass stabs (as though Adam West’s Batman was fighting The Joker on ketamine). And then, about three and a half minutes in, a filtered loop from Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) comes in… shocked? You will be! It doesn’t stay too long, and it sort of comes back again later… but on the list of all the songs I never thought would end up sampled on a psy record, that has to come up quite close to the top. Baffling and vaguely Loopus-like. Shadow FX vs Tetrameth’s Escape Sequence is tasty in the extreme…. It has a definite life of its own, and a very distinctive sound that’s at once shifty, solid, analogue, futuristic, and with a very psychedelic final run that nobody’s going to expect. Ozone’s Danoz Direct runs at a very nice pace (131bpm) and mixes high-end melodic runs with a ballsy and bassy bottom that has a bit of a nod to tripped-out amyl house. It sounds a little bit tweaked-off-pitch, giving the sound a very quirky psychedelicness about it. And finally, to Cosm – only NZ act on the compilation – whose The Opaque has to be one of my favourite finds of the year so far. Tucked away here is one of my favourite progressive tunes in such a long while, it’s smoother than twenty virgins in a vat of butter, the chords are simple and as emotive as they are absorbing, and that final three minutes is as psychedelic and as funky as anything else around at the moment. Top marks fellas. All in all this is a neat compilation, its sound is very individual and does well to distance itself from the Digital Structures / Iboga sound so prevalent at the moment. With enough sinister stuff to complement the Sensient album you just bought, this could be well worth checking out.



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