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Bass Clef – Raven Yr Own Worl EP

Pan

Bass Clef - Raven Yr Own Worl EPA slab of 12” electronic whoomph and wibble which brings forth the gloopy analogue joys of sequenced machinery bowing and scraping before the altar of the DJ booth. “Self-Perpetuating Fun Loop” does exactly as it says, whirling around a central set of repeated motifs with the terpsichorean energy of a pilled-up dervish in search of the perfect gyre. Synthesised sounds chirrup and slop until the breakdown comes, but here – again, as the title confidently stated – the swing is decidedly and expansively upwards rather than just on the horizontal plane, Bass Clef taking the mood into widescreen jubilation before an eventual dissolution.

At the heart of Ralph Cumbers‘ sound is a BugBrand modular synth*, lovingly hand-made by the legendary Tom Bugs in Bristol, and the contortions he extracts from the serried Eurorack devices here glisten and occasionally shudder with a sheen characteristic of instruments whose construction in itself is a maze of wires and esoterically-routed patches, and whose resulting sounds are unique to each individual setup. “Fluorescent City Shining City” throws in some sequenced whistling sounds which give it the atmosphere of having been recorded inside a reverberant sports stadium during some particularly energetic practice sessions for the Analogue Olympics, trails splattering off at tangents while the essential rhythm ebbs and flows from the foreground to the middle distance and back again.

Bass Clef’s uses and abuses of analogue synthesis is determinedly both forward-looking while remaining entirely conscious of the routes which electronic dance music has taken to get here – this is not mere retro-fetishisation of the technology; rather, Cumber shapes his sources in the directions they are suited, and pushes envelopes and tweaks filters until a level of electronic stasis is achieved before twisting it into yet more euphoric shapes. Some tracks, “Euphoric Nihilism” being a case in point, are entirely suited to the tranced-out environs of the dancefloor, the electronic whistles once again pointing in that direction’s favour. The acid pianos, twinkly flutters and sub bass slurry of “Adventures Unventured, Tenderness Untendered” seem assuredly destined for a mood-enhanced crowd, while both work equally well as headphone music.

Whatever their intended audience, each track is deeply involving and beautifully constructed, layers, beats and loops fabricated before the listeners’ ears, then slotted into intricate position in relation to each other as they progress through linear spaces located seemingly just outside time as it is commonly understood to exist.

-Freq1C-

* Tom Bugs has noted that it’s not actually this EP which his modular synths appear on, but the Bugbranded EP and Some Friends I Lost To Bedlam, Others I Abandoned as Some Truths.

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