Pound Shop Alex Petridis
- Reaction score
Soul Vibration #001
Liquid Records (UK)
After making their mark on the trance side with Build Your Own Reactor, upcoming UK label Liquid Records make a stab at the already-crowded downtempo sector. Psyreviews has said it so many times, but in this subgenre a release has to stand out or it drowns. Some will just be head and shoulders above the rest; some will have a unique approach; and some will just have this wonderful energy to it, a certain magic that makes it a strong release: Soul Vibration is one of these.
Ottâ€™s side-project Umberloid kicks off with Exit Chapel Perilous, a fusion of dub and blues that works wonderfully. The midsection have a cute little melody thatâ€™s held back from soaring the way it wants to, like itâ€™s being tethered but still allowed to fly. Reality Staircaseâ€™s Sodium Stones is a nice, drifting piece with a good mulch of heavy sounds somehow balanced out to create a mellow vibe, and Slackbabaâ€™s Dubterrania shows why this is an act making waves at the moment. Deeply psychedelic, and retaining a â€˜live bandâ€™ feel, the way it all somehow hangs together is incredible. Think dub with only the bass holding it all together, peppered with more sounds than youâ€™d get from a coachload of hippies whoâ€™ve just eaten a stash of burritos.
Red Seal are up next: if youâ€™re familiar with their output (unjustly thin on the ground if you ask me), youâ€™ll know it as a psy-chill version of festival reggae, as though Zion Train stopped taking amphetamines and ditched the female vocalist. Battle For Liquid Space has an escalating chord pattern, over which the track unfolds smoothly, with a slomo digidub backbone underneath it. Classy.
Manassehâ€™s Ribbit Teacha has been on heavy rotation here this week, itâ€™s a funky blend of reggae, soul, and psychededliaâ€¦ sort of like a 70s cop show set on samothraki island. Heavyweights Gaudi and Tripswitch combine forces with On The Edge, which surprisingly sounds nothing like either of their solo work â€“ more like a meeting in the middle. It coasts along nicely, with a very heavy groove counterbalanced by some utterly gorgeous topendsâ€¦ sounds youâ€™d expect to find in trance. Itâ€™s an absolute belter this one, with enough energy to work as a psybreaks number: respect.
Nagual Sound Experiment Iâ€™ve heard a lot of talk about, but Chimera is their first track Iâ€™ve caughtâ€¦. And fuck me backwards with a broom handle if this isnâ€™t corking stuff. Reverb-heavy psychobilly dub-hop. Shpongloid intricacy. Magical truculence. Dig?
Organismicâ€™s Joos Harp is a fucking dream of a track, itâ€™s breaks with a spread between tecchy, fluid, rudeboy and dreamy. Funkier than your mama, itâ€™s got that perfect amount of everything to make a very, very special record. Graham Woodâ€™s Mori Morma is a more standard psychill tune, loaded with (probably) sample-CD-ethnic-wailing. Finally Greg Hunterâ€™s Neuro Feedback is a clever construction with plenty of what sounds like live drumming, up against a mesh of sounds and grooves underpinned by a huge sub bassline that sounds better the louder it goes.
All in all, this is a very decent effort, with some stellar highpoints going on. Soul Vibration doesnâ€™t make any claim to be a spiritual journey, and is best viewed as a collection of different styles than a continued meditation across a theme.
That said, if you canâ€™t shag to this then I suggest you see a doctor.