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Alfie - Plastic Entertainment (Outer Zone, 2019)

Mr BC takes us through a stripped down techno odyssey.

The Burrell Connection represents the current Glasgow scene, hard. His enthusiastic and driving blend of all things deep and Beaty has lead to him being firmly placed on the current musical landscape of the city, contributing to superb releases on the ever brilliant Craigie Knowes, that exist in the form of his absolutely mental 2018 release 'Hyper/Orbit', along with the Highfields Causals 2016 release. These, along with other bits and bobs, have seen the BC curate his sound, born from the city's rich musical heritage for dance music, and his own polished and refined musical and production abilities. He makes music to get lost in, through its sheer energy and tenacity, its deep pounding groove, and the surprising melodies that just add that little bit of extra specialness on top.

As Alfie, he presents us with a new side to his sound, but not a complete deviation. 'Plastic Entertainment', on the Glasgow label Outer Zone, feels like a real nice nostalgic nod, all blown through the spectrum of his sound. As the label likes to proclaim, their music pays homage to the greats that made Glasgow's scene, whilst blending that with a celebration of the multitude of really talented producers coming through. 'Plastic' is no different, it weaves and worms its way through various styles and feels, to an end product full of immense satisfaction, like the body and the mind have been majorly refreshed as a result.

To kick things off, 'Coasting' comes into play. A deep and reverbed drum pattern comes charging in, displaying much of the BCs earlier productions; its all about that god damn rhythm. But then this pulsating bass line comes in, underneath very light synth pads. The drums and bass working in complete harmony, that continues to build as the bass line swells and swells. Relentless, never ever fading, this tune works on many levels, namely the feet on the ground and the mind in the clouds. Small little keys charge around as the tune unravels slightly, but never drifts away from its journey into the stratosphere. Up next comes 'Jaded Dreams', and more of the same please. The drums start this one off again, a fast off time bass drum leads the way, with filtered cymbals and that just moving around real gracefully. Then a nice chord line comes in, followed by a fucking ace synth line once again. Alfie just nails it once again, the kicks, the chords, just everything here works so effectively. The elements hold hands and glide you through this series of flashing lights, smoke machines and glaring noises. The drums drop away at the right times, the vibe slows down just a tad, before kick starting back into life once again. God fucking hell, what a tune.

Up next we have 'Return to Planet E', that pays direct homage to the famous Carl Craig techno label. It is a gem, the key to this song is the dynamics of the synths that constantly swirl around. They blend into their surroundings, then drift all over the shop, left right, up and down, never sitting still for one second. All the while a classicque sounding techno beat pounds, HARD, underneath all this swirling magic. This one really takes you into a dark room, and prods you until you really give into it. The tune is incessant, and insistent, that you dance and move and groove. Finally, to end it all, we have 'The Escapist'. After all this energy flying around, its nice to have a moment to reflect. This tune does this, in spades. Whilst the first three tunes almost commanded total control over your heart and soul (not a bad thing!), this one gives you and the song the space to breath and reflect. A nice little breakbeat plays around underneath deep synths, that fall down from the heavens. The drums kick it up a notch just the right amount, and the synths move forward a little bit, but do not stop in their overall feel. Little noises and swirls add to the intrigue, this tune just going to show Alfie's abilities to blend the straight up with the way down to the ground. This is a proper feeler, as the song descends into a pool of Indian instrumental samples, a lovely little contrast to the keys, that then come back in for another round. A gorgeous chune, one that was welcomed greatly as everyone comes through from their mind being taken on a train going at 5000mph.

We've seen so much through this EP. It delves into the great sounds of the past, but touches constantly on the present. The notions and motions from this record are far reaching, a record that presents itself as a energy workout, but provides the listener with moments to just lock themselves in for the ride. Then, as if instantaneously, we jump out, ready to dip back in when we feel like. A stunner, truly, a fantastic EP.

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