|Porter Ricks — Anguilla Electrica (June 30, 2017)|
Porter Ricks — Anguilla Electrica (June 30, 2017) ■••■ Innovative dub~techno duo with a handful of classic releases on labels such as Chain Reaction, Mille Plateaux, and Force Inc.
■••■ Sound project and live performance by German producers Thomas Köner & Andy Mellwig. Named for a character on the ‘60s TV show Flipper, Porter Ricks specialize in subaquatic dub techno, providing the closest touchstone to the static hum and fuzzy beatwork of their quasi labelmates Basic Channel.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Album release: June 30, 2017
Record Label: Tresor Records
1 Anguilla Electrica 7:14
2 Shoal Beat 7:32
3 Prismatic Error 6:54
4 Scuba Rondo 8:25
5 Port of Tangency 7:25
6 Sandy Ground 4:55
℗© Tresor Records
by Andrew Gaerig, July 8th, 2017 / Score: 8.0
■••■ The dub techno duo’s first new record since 1999 is a submerged wonder. Its stirring, bold elements steer the tracks into murky, unexpected places.
■••■ There’s a certain level of artistic passivity associated with dub techno. This is in large part because stoned minimalism is the style’s modus operandi, but also because so many of the synthesizers and software programs people have used to make techno throughout the years seem tailor~made to spit out ghostly snare hits and sub~aquatic bass. Your Roland Space Echo is not going to have an off day.
■••■ Porter Ricks, the German duo of Andy Mellwig and Thomas Köner, has always made music tangential to basic dub techno — they were there in the beginning, on the seminal Chain Reaction label, as Basic Channel laid the ground rules that still govern the style. But Porter Ricks have always seemed more dynamic and wily than their stylistic peers, and if so much dub techno is sending depth charges to the ocean’s bottom, then Anguilla Electrica, the duo’s first new record since 1999, is the moment when whatever’s lurking down there comes up to play.
■••■ What this means, functionally, Mellwig and Köner have taken a pretty typical techno framework — kick drums on every beat, snares and claps in familiar places, and with plenty of echo — and focused the energy anywhere but that scaffolding. This is not an album about perfectly tuned kick drums or the transients of snares bathing in reverb; it’s about the mechanistic bass~worm that burrows through “Shoal Beat” or the shark~y way that white noise seems to circle “Scuba Rondo.” Each of Anguilla Electrica’s six tracks contains stirring, bold elements that steer the tracks into murky, unexpected places. (And if you think “has memorable moments” is a low bar for any piece of music to clear, you may be underestimating how long certain people will listen to a minor chord drift into the ether.)
■••■ Dub techno invites a lot of philosophizing because it naturally deals with time and decay and repetition (and because it pairs well with drugs). Mellwig and Köner, despite some digressions into the duality of the mind and body, seem chiefly concerned with “nuanced sonic experiences,” something that is borne out during Anguilla Electrica.
■••■ Porter Ricks share an indelible quality with tricksters like Aphex Twin: artists who, despite building tracks with the same elements as everyone else, consistently manage to sound more slippery and idiosyncratic. You hear this in the static that cloaks “Sandy Ground,” which seems to take on a technicolor aspect as a melody emerges. Even, “Prismatic Error,” the most traditionally dubby track here, idles in a kind of harmonic glow. There’s very little techno music — very little electronic music in general — that sounds like Anguilla Electrica, and that includes previous Porter Ricks albums.
■••■ The six tracks here feel labored over — for four years, according to the duo — which, again, is no minor distinction amid techno’s chillest and jammiest substrata. In turn, they ask for your attention, for you to puzzle over the massing overtones and darting basslines with the same intelligence and care their creators did. The distinctions between Anguilla Electrica and workaday techno can sometimes feel subtle, but that’s kind of the point: Mellwig and Köner love techno too much change it, just as they love techno too much to not to. ■••■ http://pitchfork.com/
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson; Score: ****
→↔★ Following the fantastic 2016 EP Shadow Boat, techno innovators Porter Ricks released Anguilla Electrica, their first full~length since the ‘90s. As with the EP, the album sounds more pumped~up and alert than much of their older work. The tracks don’t stretch out quite as long as most of the ones on Biokinetics, and they don’t have the same type of vast, oceanic wash as that album. Titles like “Scuba Rondo” allude to the aquatic themes of their earlier work, and while these productions don’t sound quite as wet, they certainly sound fluid. The opening title track has a bit of a slanted industrial/EBM pulse, which is smeared with the duo’s requisite unnerving echo and distortion effects. “Shoal Beat” increases the dub damage, with swelling, rippling, and crashing textures over a Kompakt~esque ticking beat. “Port of Tangency” is the head~spinning highlight, as the duo performs audio magic tricks, making it sound like a blues harmonica is chugging along with the bubbly, squishy noises and minimal (but not basic) beat. Hyper~focused yet still spacy and abstract, Anguilla Electrica retains the familiar Porter Ricks sound while continuing to sandblast into new territory.
|Porter Ricks — Anguilla Electrica (June 30, 2017)|