Quentin – Rain (2016)


“This world exists nonnecessarily, improbably, and causelessly. It exists for absolutely no reason at all. It is inexplicably and stunningly actual. The impact of this captivated realisation upon me is overwhelming. I am completely stunned. I take a few dazed steps in the dark meadow, and fall among the flowers. I lie stupefied, whirling without comprehension in this world through numberless worlds other than this one”. Quentin Smith, The Felt Meanings Of The World (1986)

Lorenzo Senni – Elegant and never tiring (2014)


‘Superimpositions’ is the hyper-coloured conceptual follow-up to multi-disciplinary Milanese artist, Lorenzo Senni’s landmark LP, ‘Quantum Jelly’ (Editions Mego, 2012). It further consolidates, accelerates and evolves his idea of “Pointillistic Trance” – an ascetic, extreme approach to the aesthetic essence of ‘90s-style trance/hard-trance – with a broader range of song structures, minimalist moiré patterns, and tantric dancefloor arrangements, all executed to visceral impact and challenging, exhilarating effect.

Angling deeper into his stripped set-up – a computer-controlled JP8000 Roland Digital-Analog Modelled S-Source Synthesiser – ‘Superimpositions’ reveals seven glistening examples of Lorenzo’s current praxis, finding the biting point between emotional, real-time human input, and the sleek tension of synthesis. Opener, ‘Happic’ arches up with breathtaking effect, and never quite gives it back during its seemingly infinite ascent, whilst ‘Elegant, and Never Tiring’ is a spine-tingling exercise in aerobic coefficients, and the title track tiers teasing chords in a sisyphean struggle for deferred gratification.

At the LP’s blinding, white hot core, the heart-rush flux of bass arpeggios and spiralling hi-end in ‘Forever Headline’ threaten to careen off the platter, harnessing the rush of a million ‘crasher kids circa ‘98, before closer ‘PointillisticT’ broadsides with a cascade of lip-bitingly beautiful, melancholic chords.

Nautiluss – Kodama (2016)


Reflections is the Spectral Sound debut of Nautiluss, the primary project from Toronto’s Graham Bertie. His career began, as many do, with practicing mixing records in his bedroom before cutting his teeth in warehouse raves in Montreal. After many collaborations and heavy touring early in his career, he has chosen to stay in more than go out, leading to a new direction in his music. Don’t let this lead you to believe he’s a slouch in the live department – he has performed live at the influential MUTEK Festival and Panorama Bar in Berlin, showcasing his flexibility and expertise with all manner of instrumentation – analog and digital, hard and soft, improvised and structured. He has been found spinning at iconic clubs such as Trouw, Panorama Bar, Dance Tunnel and his favourite local grotto, Toronto’s Bambi’s, performing alongside talent such as Mike Servito, Octo Octa, and Galcher Lustwerk.

The tracks from the Reflections EP emphasize this dichotomy – tracks which are equally suited for the dancefloor and headphones. EP opener “Odyssey” begins with eerie chords and shuffling drums, constantly shifting underneath a layer of analog hiss and twinkling piano vamps. “Kodama” is darker and moodier, with deep chords, square wave basslines, and clenched hi-hats. “Alphaville” is acid by ways of the Nostromo of Ridley Scott’s Alien – hisses, clangs, and yelps cavort amongst a lone triangle, laser sounds, and high-speed flybys. “Lonely Planet” closes out the EP with radar pings and classic deep Rhodes chords.

Seahawks – Escape Hatch (2016)


Seahawks return with their deepest album to date. A masterful blend of Berlin-School electronics and post ECM New Age fusion. Finis Africae meets Harold Budd downtown. ‘Escape Hatch’ is the fourth studio album by Seahawks, recorded over the last 18 months and drawing inspiration from Innovative Communications Berlin School electronics, ECM and Windham Hill releases by the likes of Mark Isham, Jan Garbarek and Interior and the New Age synth sounds of Iasos, Deuter and William Aura. The album opens with sheets of soft white noise, which give way to Budd like treated piano and fretless bass before super saturated saxophone tones and rippling sequences cascade over the listener like a summer downpour. Seahawks trademark tropical vibes continue throughout the album but there’s a constantly changing panorama of moods and tones, from the deeply emotive Missed with its widescreen synth and sax interplay that recall Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack to the epic scope of White Horses with it’s almost Popul Vuh like mantric outro and Starways it’s distorted flugel horn like a ghost from Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden. At the very end of the album there’s another twist. A cover of the obscure Balearic hit ‘Valparaiso’ by Paula Moore, with a Nassau groove, surprise guest vocal and a twinkle in its eye, it provides a suitably eclectic yet ethereal ending. Once again Seahawks have created a world to get lost in, an ‘Escape Hatch’ – if you need it, come get it, here it is.