NOMADIC: Trek 19 (Touchin’ Bass)


Posted on Oct 25th 2007 10:19 pm

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Trek 19

Trek 19
Touchin’ Bass 2007
10 Tracks. 57mins01secs

DJ/producer Andrea Parker’s label usually specialises in a kind of very psychedelic and very high-tech sounding underground electro, so at first listen this extremely rough’n’ready album seems like something of a diversion for them. However, although the crunch and buzz of the individual sounds on Trek 19 are superficially punkier and more violent than Touchin’ Bass’s usual fare (indeed frequently it recalls some of The Aphex Twin’s earliest, rawest Rephlex 12″ excursion into piledriving noise under Caustic Window and other such names), a couple of listens through and it becomes very clear that the heart and soul of this album is electro – funky, body-popping, head-spinning, robo-funk electro indebted to Kraftwerk and the Soul Sonic Force – just as much as any previous releases on the label are.

Nomadic is Cuban-born Alain Hernandez – and once you learn from his biography that he grew up on the streets of Miami trying to replicate classic hip-hop on the most rudimentary of sampling keyboards, everything falls into place. From his roots using minimal resources, without studios and digital FX units, Hernandez clearly had to make every single sound count – which is why, instead of allowing sounds to phase and warp as in so many contemporary electro records, this album relies entirely of the bite of the individual sounds and steady, subtle variation in the rhythm programming to move the tracks forward.

And they do drive forward: like those early Aphex tracks, or like mid-period Autechre before they began to deconstruct themselves entirely, though the jagged edges of the sounds can create an uneasy atmosphere redolent of the first Alien film with its bare wires, rust and acid burns, the rhythms are so physical, so bodily, that the innate funk imbued by their electro DNA makes the whole hugely appealing. The mournful synth and piano melodies that wind themselves around the beats are merely window-dressing: yes, they sugar the pill a little bit, but it’s the head-nodding, butt-wiggling funk of it all that is what will draw you into this album if anything does.


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