This inaugural release from live electronic outfit Spirit Tone enlists the help of Leeds-born experimentalist Bioni Samp in four tracks of twisted DIY synth exploration. With frenetic tempos and off-kilter rhythms throughout, these recordings, whilst ultimately lacking in real direction, provide insight into the workings of two synth heads who clearly had fun sculpting this release.
Bioni Samp playing live.
Take 1 starts as it means to go on, with lurching off-beat bass squelches and delay-soaked hiss. However, for all its build and tension, this first recording never truly finds its feet; however, by the second track, the pair quickly find their groove. Bursts of white noise jostle for space between bent square-wave rhythms and a hypnotic bass tone, gradually giving way to a moody, staggering progression which takes the recording to a coherent conclusion.
The third offering here centres on a hyperactive electro groove, introducing a lush, arpeggiated element a minute and a half in, which serves as the release’s only foray into any discernible melody. Skittering percussion lends the track a compelling pace as the synths continue to pulse and grind – this is the most elegant cut of the release.
Any semblance of traditional structure, however, is thrown out of the window for the final track, which comprises two-and-a-half minutes of rolling wisps of noise and painstakingly gradual automation. As minimalist as this is, Take 4 is irresistible in its solid pursuit.
This is not an EP that attempts to shatter any boundaries through clarity of vision or musical aspiration, while it seems a little rushed compared to some of Bioni Samp’s excellent previous offerings. However, when taken as it’s presented, you can’t deny the Country EP’s hectic intensity and raw, disorganised appeal.
I’m really interested to hear where Spirit Tone Recordings goes next.
Released October 1, 2018