Ekoplekz is almost a priori; you could conceive of him from your armchair. Or at least you’d think you could. He’s come up thick and fast (he’s got a release schedule that shames us all) and I doubt whether his methodology has changed much since he first plugged that Eko organ into a analogue delay way back in the pre-flood (pre-Flood? There’s a thought) years. For once, the press release nails it: “…this is Ekoplekz’s most satisfying album to date and we hope you [think so] too.” This will satisfy in the sense that it won’t disappoint existing fans; the key Radio-Tubby-TG elements are here (on “Pressure Level” in particular I swear I can hear Cosey‘s cornet breaking through the uncharacteristically fast beats and slices…), but it will also make more people fans because there are noticeably less rough edges on this release than anything else I’ve heard. For Nick Edwards, this is as smooth as it gets.For the first time, some of these tracks could be Boards Of Canada. There are beats here that are more or less stable (if attenuated, if almost broken) and some of the synths move with a slow, glacial quality that returns to a different (Where were you in ’94?) retro. “Sleng Zen” starts like it’s some echofucked harmonica from Springsteen‘s Nebraska album. “Sea 90” (ha) really reminds me of Reload‘s early “Birth of a Disco Dancer” single for instance, whilst “Nerva Beacon” feels like it was part of the Night Train IDM midnight show that I used to listen to on Brighton Festival Radio and might soon be supplemented by a Vivian Stanshall poem or a slice of Nurse With Wound dialogue. Ekoplekz still stands alone, it’s still largely just him making this stuff and it’s an impressive niche (and an even more impressive bit of territory-mapping; Nick must have been snapping like a turtle at anyone who got too close to his grooves) which he’s now pushing out from, along the way bumping into similar, but previously unrelated, genres. It seems that he had help choosing these tracks and this shows; the release under his own name on Editions Mego (the Ekoplekz I return most often to) was very singular, almost myopic, while this one feels like there are two pairs of eyes, sifting, watching, waiting.
I can see this being a hit of sorts. I can see it underscoring a TV documentary on snails, or a small section of a Channel 4 mini-series when someone realises that they’re not suffering from Capgras Syndrome and that everyone really has been bodysnatched. This would work. Someone, make it work.