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Body Corp - Soft Expression (Soothsayer, 2020)

Dreams and impassioned memories of the dance floor become infused deep within the music on this hugely impressive debut EP from the Retiree band member.

Its always a pleasure when labels push the boat out to find people who express themselves to the fullest extent. When the vision allows for accommodating a wide spectrum of music, the results are usually always enriching and boundary pushing, where in musicians bring their own unique take to their craft and add it into a melting pot that grows continually. Its this kind of approach that has endeared so many labels to listeners and music lovers, where with each release we get to see a different side of the ethos and ideals that the label heads hold close. The family vibe that starts to become developed comes across even stronger, in that we see the label's output as not just a continuum of the same styles or flavours, but as a space where a wide array of genres can find a home and proudly stand alongside each other. The essence is what remains a constant, the spirit that dwells within the label heads and mates binds the musical content together, the mystique and flow of it all. This then allows all manner of varying producers and artists to express themselves via their own identities, which in turn continues to add to and embolden the label and all that it represents. The wide boundaries and depths of the sonics nurtures this friendly and welcoming vibe, but also displays a fantastic sense of musical diversity, wherein we feel compelled to dedicate ourselves time to spend with that label, with its rich and dense discography too much to turn away from. When many strands of expressionism become the defining factor of a label, you know you are always in for a treat with new releases, with our imagination always peaked to expand more with the inspiration that jumps from the records.

Soothsayer have building just that kind of inclusive and musically diverse discography for quite some time now, and to take a dip through their releases is to really immerse yourself in high quality electronica of all forms and shapes. The kind of label that champions the intrigue and intuitiveness of it all, with the music found within always taking a beautifully considered path on its way to moving our minds and our bodies. From deep yet sombre techno, through to pumped up grime inspired numbers, through to soft melodic synth pop, and back through vast landscaped electronica, before stopping by tender house, its quite the ride for the senses. Its the sort of music that applies itself wonderfully to multiple situations, with the club as much an influence on the music as other exterior influences, and this element shows up time and time again. Through such a cracking discography, we have selected some highlights, that include

'Alchemy' and 'Lustre' by Willaris K from 2018 and earlier this year respectively; the superb 'First Light Vol. 1' compilation by CC:Disco!, which also arrived in 2018; the wonderfully playful 'Fata Morgana' EP by Love Deluxe, from last year; and the always evolving 'Flicker' by Juno Mamba, also from last year. All their releases build and grow from each other, little moments that all add up to craft something larger, more significant, a sense of direction and purpose begins to shine through for the label and the producers who release on it. We immerse ourselves in the threads and flows that run between each release with joy etched onto our faces, the contents of the records always giving over more than we expected or imagined. Its the sounds of the mind being channelled through the club, the after party, and back into the context in which it was born, its identity fluid and ever changing, but the spirit always lights up our hearts.

So now we arrive at one of their latest releases, the debut EP by Body Corp, 'Soft Expression'. Body Corp is the alias of Retiree member Marco Vella, and with the group has released on such illustrious labels as Plastic World and Rhythm Section, with their 2018 'House Or Home' record an absolute must have for any fan of the intelligent groove. Vella has channelled his passions for dance music, the club and all the emotions that wash up with it into this brilliant record, one that approaches density and song construction with such intelligence and vision, and one that will leave you wondering through the blissed out fields of possibility. As debuts go, its fucking remarkable, so lets take a dip.

We begin off proceedings with the opener, 'Landing', and we land feet first into it. The track has a wonderful swing to it, the kicks looping within the spaces set by the incessant hi hats, with a hint at the deep set melodic elements to come. Sure enough, we are joined by this subtle yet powerful bass line, that weaves and grooves with such emphasis and meaning, as the singular chord drips into view. The dynamics on the chord change in terms of texture and feel, the effects channelled into it have a water like quality as it weaves and worms over the gorgeous drumming patterns. The singularity doesn't last forever, and with that bountiful build up we move into the progression during the break down, with the melodies at last given free reign to do what they please in this beautifully collated soundscape. The expanse is there for all to delve within, the sea of sound carefully nurtured and expertly balanced between percussion and the colourful keys on top, but we are still in for more delights to come. As the song reaches its crest in terms of melodic ness, Body Corp introduces this arpeggio sequence that just takes the track to a whole new space, a new environment forms around us as the keys become like a solid line of sound that caters through at the most perfect pace possible. And like that, we return to the drums, as the song drifts into its downtime. Damn. Up next comes the title track, and we begin off with the chimes bringing us into proceedings. The keys hit down with meaning and reason, their rhythms place at such a manner as to allow the drums to permeate through with maximum effectiveness, crafting a range in sound that doesn't hold back in its quest for euphoria. As the various melodic lines weave around each other, the introduction of new elements keeps the fire burning, crafting a sense of progression that allows for the flow to keep on keeping on. The breakdown sees a new line come into play, a delightful key line that in turn seems to craft a series of further lines that keep adding further and further into this ever massing layering of beauty that never ceases to amaze us. Like a whirlwind of emotion, its the kind of track that wraps itself around the listener, and the club for that matter, with its targeted dynamic that does everything it can to make you move and groove. Its pretty damn special. Up next comes 'Negative Reaction', and we begin with some more sparse percussive lines this time around, but the additional fast paced bass keeps the underbelly of the track alive and well. Its this balance between fast paced bass notes and the slight yet ever evolving drumming sequence that crafts this initial attraction, but as ever its the keys that move the track into new and exciting realms. Their ever expanding nature creates this compelling backdrop for all the Beaty goodness that is going to swell forth, with the track taking time to move between varying structures and arrangements, the back and forth serving the track exceedingly well indeed. As the track proceeds, we move very much through the motions with grace, as the beats become elevated to the full on house experience that was building for a while now. The break down arrives, and we are greeted to a beautiful melodic landscape, as the bass line which had receded before now swings right back into view, its journey through the stars coming back down to earth for just a moment. The manner in which it all ascends then descends is the stuff of dreams, the majesty of this track knows no bounds and will continue to caress the speakers for countless nights to come.

Up next comes 'You Don't Know', and we begin once more with the perfectly composed drums easing us into the track. As we engage with this, the chords float into the backdrop, before moving right into the centre of our view, their lovingly crafted nature giving us major feels. The two move along with symbiotic harmony, and this creates the perfect space for the sequences keys to do their thing right between the two. As a fleshed out melodic experience, its quite something, a fresh and invigorating take on it all, as the breakdown moves us into a new state of being. The sequence moves up a notch, its intensity meaning the sound given over becomes more like a singular note than a rebounding arpeggio, but its this consideration of sonics that gives the track so much vibrancy. Constantly evolving, continually evoking something within us, its the stuff of dreams. Top draw. To finish up, we have the Francis Inferno Orchestra 'Goblin Magick Mix' of 'Negative Reaction', and the tone couldn't shift any harder if it tried. But its a remarkable sound, the vigorous tempo giving new life to the original, elevating the track to a new context and environment, our hearts racing within this masterclass of destructive progressive house, where the rave crosses our starry eyed vision one final time before the walk home through the sun rise. One final release of energy on a record filled with special moments, ones where we look to place ourselves in a while full of inspiration and life, our minds firmly locked into the compelling sounds that swirl around this record that gives over so much for us to enjoy.

As debuts go, even as an alias, this is a supremely impressive record. Body Corp channels the ideals of his works with Retiree into the music found here, a expertly considered narrative that propels itself forward via brilliant keys, effortless compositions and perhaps most prevelently, the beautiful drums that set the tone and texture for all that is to follow. Its dance music at its most thoughtful, where each element feels right and true, its place within the structures doing its utmost to give us the best kind of experience possible. Multiple listens create multiple connections, and you will dedicate an enormous amount of time to this record. A stunner.

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