Re:Discovery continue their explorations into the deep pool of 90s electronica with their reissue of the iconic debut Human Mesh Dance EP record by ambient-trance-techno producer Taylor Deupree.
Tone comes in all shapes and forms, and as a feature of music its feel runs deep from the highs to the lows, in order to create a layer of emotional response within us. Tone can be optimistic, it can be solemn and reserved, or it can be exploratory and far reaching, creating not just a singular feeling or emotion but a multitude of vibes in which we can imprint our own thoughts and fancies into. This kind of tone is reserved to that particular application of the keys, not stabs or chordal patterns but more of a sweeping notion, moving through the gears with a charismatic tendency that draws you in with its wordless stanzas and keeps you close with its continual sonic exposition, providing us with a world in which to inhibit that can shift endlessly with each listen. These kinds of tonal explorations were very much at the forefront of a plethora of genres that developed during the late 70s through to the 80s and 90s, taking the form of movements like Ambient, Techno, IDM, EBM, Electro and Trance, with each genre establishing itself with a similar tone that emphasised the idea of providing to the listener a vast space in which move around within. It was perhaps during the 80s and certainly the 90s where the notions of tone were pushed to their absolute limits, with producers pairing idealism with new technology that lead to some incredible developments within each genre, with releases highlighting just how far out the boat could be pushed in relation to crafting sounds considered not exactly of this earth. A timeless quality started to surround these records and producers, with people loosing themselves completely in the kaleidoscope of expressionism that abounded from the combination of chordal arrangements and intricate drumming patterns, with the sounds crafted seemingly a world away from the traditional instrumentation that people had become used to. It was music that spoke to the inner consciousness, of glimmering scenarios and flickering city lights, a world of potent emotion and endless potential, its an audial identity bound by the flows and progressions of something greater, something tangible yet not at the same time. As a result, the music still seems well beyond the era in which it was made, residing in a time capsule that has the ability to come down to earth in whatever time period and make us believe again, such is the emotive quality and propensity to accommodate our mental meanderings. Regarding the aforementioned genres, many producers spent their time carefully navigating the various treads that run through each movements core to craft audial identities that referenced the very best of each one, carefully considering how the main elements of one genre could be spliced with another to provide a unique vibe that paired one kind of tone with another. If we look back at producers who stuck to one train of thought with love and affection, then we look back at those who crossed the boundaries between multiple genres with an unadulterated adoration, as their experimentalism and brewing to capture a perfected idea of how these genres operate together sticking long in the memory. Their sound is very much one to delve deep within to understand the intricacies of how tone is used in such genres, as it doesn't exactly lead us by the nose but instead provides an alternative angle to the experience that relies on the cross-referencing of rhythms, keys and ethereal atmospheres. A narrative begins to form that elevates then descends, accelerates then slows way down, a journey that takes on numerous forms in order to convince us of its vast potential, as we become sucked right into a universe that contains multiple destinations for us to revel deep within. Tone becomes the guiding light, leading us through a mix of glimmering keys and beats to specific points of interest that expand the mind, encourage the body, or simply just persist as a effervescent glow in the background, filling the heart with all kinds of wonderment as we drift and drift some more in a galaxy of boundless potential.
If there was ever an artist that explored the utmost extents of their sound and tone, then producer, graphic designer and sound artist Taylor Deupree has to be right up there as one of the exemplars of how to fine tune a winning formula in the most surprising of ways. Deupree is one of those producers who began their career in the genre-blending and sound swashbuckling period of the 1990s, where many individuals were engaged with the notion of crafting multiple aliases in order to satisfy their cravings for making numerous strands of electronica, which in turn helped to define their story as one of immense vision and creative willingness to look beyond and see how these iconic genres link up together. Deupree is very much one of those artists, with a number of stand alone aliases alongside a bulk of group projects he was involved in, all of which touched upon differing genres that help to populate his world view of music, with movements like ambient, glitch, techno, trance, acid, minimal and experimentalism all touched upon within his works. Deupree certainly has an inate ability to approach each project with a definite enthusiasm that runs from the simmering high ends through to the bottom line of the sonics, with a passion running through the core that does wonders to the mind and the body in regards to letting it all go, the music encouraging us to be totally immersed in the music from the start of the record right to the very end. Not only was he concerned with the straight up power moves of more conventional dance music, Deupree catered for the other side of the spectrum with his countless ambient releases, that really emphasised the power of tonal flourishes that weave across an open plain, expanding from our peripheries way beyond into the distant horizon line. Its music that feels alive and characterful, with its contents conveying a mood that feels deeply eventful and brimming with notions, textures and narratives that unravel within the rhythmic (or non-rhythmic) pulses that click along to our collectivised heart beat. His understanding of the potential of melodics helps to form the most believable and enriching of environments, soundscapes of immense possibility that wrap around the listener in the warmest of embraces, never for one minute letting us go until the track sees itself out into the transparency of life itself. Alongside his countless releases as a producer, Deupree founded the label 12K in 1997 and hasn't looked back, with its discography amongst the most impressive and durable of its kind, with a plethora of releases that touch upon many aspects of electronica and its numerous strands and experiences. Looking back through his works, there's a shed load to look into but due to his continuing investment in crafting a truly magical blend of audial environments to get lost within, we approach the job of picking out some highlights with heaps of excitement. Our starting point will be his collaborate projects, with our favourites including the excellent minimal IDM record 'Alphabet Flasher', that came out under the Drum Komputer name (alongside Dietrich Schoenemann) in 1998; the beautiful ebbs and flows that reside deep within the 'Escape Tank' album, that was released alongside Schoenemann and Savvas Ysatis under the Escape Tank name in 1995; the endlessly pulsating feels that resonate from the gorgeous 'Luv Luv' record, released alongside Ysatis under the Futique name in 1996; the exquisite acid lines and thumping drumming patterns that resonate from the 'Acid Technology' record, released alongside Schonenemann and Jason Szostek under the iconic Prototype 909 name, that came out in 1993; the equally powerful blend of progressive acid and incessant drumming patterns that abound from the 'Karma' single, that landed in 94' under the 909 name; the utterly compulsive 'Transistor Rhythm' LP, that remains a really classy take on mid 90s acid techno, with the album arriving in 95'; the sparse yet bountiful swells that abound from the self titled SETI record, which was released alongside Ysatis in 1994; and finally, the chuggy, purposeful and progressive undertones that roll over us from the 'Mosquito' release, that came under the Unit Park alongside Schonenemann in 96. By himself, Deupree has a number of aliases that have seen him working primarily in a production capacity, with the pure and rhythmically elegant 'Habitat' release, that came out under the Ando name in 2005, being one to certainly listen to outside of the extensive catalogue that he released under his own name, with some selected LP highlights from here include 'Comma,' (1998), 'Stil' (2002), 'January' (2004), 'Northern' (2008), and 'Somi' (2017), and some EP highlights include 'Freak Of Nature' (1996), 'Untitled' (1997), 'Sea Last' (2008) and 'Untitled' (2016). In all, Deupree has overseen a significant body of work that has followed through his fingertips and through his 12K label, both of which have significantly added to the narrative that unravelled from the 90s musical landscape in more ways than one. His music shifts through the foundations of melody and rhythm to provide audial landscapes of bountiful feels, with his ambient work always transcending beyond the physical realms and launching us into the stratosphere, whilst his diversions into other genres always reaping massive rewards due to his approach and technical application. There's a lot to sink your teeth into here, but trust us when we say that his music is the kind that helps you believe, perceive and understand just a little bit differently, so why don't you switch off and take a trip through the gleaming sunshine.
And now we turn our attentions to the subject of today's review, a reissue of Deupree's 1993 EP 'Hyaline' which arrived under his Human Mesh Dance alias, with the reissue coming courtesy of the excellent Re:discovery Records. The Human Mesh Dance alias is one of Deupree's most celebrated, with its small discography containing a plethora of highly expressive trance orientated ambientness that still stands so tall to this day. This reissue serves to highlight one of the many strands of his legacy, with the four original cuts sounding utterly beautiful alongside two exclusive tracks never before released on vinyl, with the resulting experience only serving to remind us of the power of tonal application and the ways in which instrumentation can cross-reference itself with our inner most thoughts and dreams. Its the hazy sunrise, the epic sun set, the blue hues of the mid morning and the deep arrays of the afternoon, all soundtracked to music that expands beyond and lays itself over the real and imagined landscapes rolled out before us, touching upon every facet of our connections to the world around us with some of the most evocative music you will hear all year. So, without further delay, lets dive right into this timeless gem of a record.....
Up first comes 'Sunflower', and the intro does much to set the scene very well indeed. The rising swells of the synth become interspersed with chiming undercurrents and the lightest of percussive key elements, with the resulting soundscape incredibly warm to the ears as the tides start to lap at our feet, with the orange sunset coming down from up high to give us the biggest of embraces. The melodic interchange is subsequently joined by a delightful drumming pattern, one that is toned down in terms of volume in order to create a symbiotic feel with the expressive melodics, with the two elements forming a pact in channelling everything they've got into this wondrous forward momentum. The floating cosmic sequence does much to keep the pulse running very high indeed, shifting its form and distancing from expansive to contracted in a matter of seconds, with additional tones coming in from the left that signal the vocal line to breath some more fresh air into the ongoing breeziness. The track then brings back its original chordal arrangement to go through the motions a few times, as the numerous layers keep unravelling and merging into one another, finding the spaces that persist within the rhythm in order to showcase to the fullest extent what this track is made of. And, like that the drums move away, providing one final glimpse of the chordal arrangement and all they had to offer to us - and it will forever remain a significant amount. Top draw stuff. Next comes 'Human 2', and this one begins in the distance somewhere. Flickering aquatic like droplets bounce and reverb to the chimes that flow around us, with their presence added to by the introduction of some lush key lines that gently provide depth and substance, as a continual WUBB bass line adds further to the intrigue of how this song is going to unravel. The drums then align themselves from deep within to rise to the mid section, gently providing a sense of progression that allows for the melodic features to drift in and out of time and space, with our minds firmly placed in the middle of this unwinding majesty. The dip in density provides space for the drums to go through a few loops, before unleashing upon us the full force of the track, with additional vocal lines of 'look to the future' reinforcing the idea that we are really looking forward in time. The track then deconstructs itself to again build up a momentum, that is lead by the acid line and some beautiful swirling keys, with the atmosphere created a transfixing one, our hearts and minds firmly in it for the long run. This one could go on forever. Up next comes 'Moonflower', and this one begins with the familiar bounce of the kicks and the bass to get us going. These two elements are quickly joined by light melodic features and layered percussive textures, with additional hats cutting through the top ends to help build up a very compelling rhythmic section, and just as you started to sense a change was in the air we arrive at the climax of the razor sharp drum crashes. This then opens up the track entirely, with an acid line featuring alongside a deep eerie synth line, with the tone of the environment shifting in the ever changing winds as the drums move in and out of differing densities, with the melodic layers taking all the time they need to switch places amongst the rising sunrise. The dips into kickless territories provide a breathing space to get to grips with the cosmological display, as the dips into deep set wells might be brief yet they provide an enormous amount of transitional quality into the track, cutting up these long sequences of galaxy traversing with a moment to pause. The vocal line that punctuates the mid section adds further to the sense of continual momentum, a soaring feeling akin to swirling around in a vortex, never quite going too high but never hitting the ground either, our mental state firmly held up by the ascending keys and intricate drumming patterns. Mesmerising ain't even the word.
Up next comes 'Counterglow', and this one begins with the vocal snippet and bass line getting the blood pumping. The light taps of the hats give a sense of groove to proceedings, as the bass line plays around within its sonic boundaries, encouraging the rest of the track to move into its next phase of being, and that occurs as the intermittent notes flicker through the distant clouds. The kicks arrive and send the cut into a more uptempo state, urgently flowing through the grooves as it shifts through numerous gears in providing an encapsulating performance, with rising synths and a saxophone of all things complimented by flurries of drumming crescendos that really get the blood pumping in the most subtle of ways. The vocals look to make their presence known for one final hurrah, with the track exiting this world as gracefully as it entered it. Pure bliss, this one. Next comes 'Dive', and here we begin once again with the beautifully considered key lines to get us going. The rising synth line keeps on going upwards and onwards, calming shifting through the boundaries in the far away distance, with the bass line that arrives not too soon after hinting at bigger things to come, with this feeling confirmed as the energetic hi hats land directly within the middle of proceedings. There's a slight pause, but like that we are immediately swept away by the hard hitting drums, their feverish energy carrying us along on a wave of euphoria as the acid line once again glides across the surface of the track, taking in all it can as we drive further and further into the dance. The track reaches its first dip in energy but then instantaneously jumps right back into it, with the drums leading the way as light melodic flourishes abound on top with a deep set desire, as the acid line does much to keep the blood pumping at a very high rate indeed. Its the most frantic track on the record, but it just goes to show that Deupree really can do anything he sets his mind too. Top draw. To wrap things up, we have 'Dahlia', and this one takes us back into more serene territories. The drumming pattern is laid back, softly driving away in the background somewhere as technological sounds shift across the top layer with a brazen feel, their texture and tone helping to set the boundaries of the sonics very well indeed. Before long though we are joined by the repeating melodic lead driver, that takes the form of a gorgeous arpeggio line that lovingly lays itself on top of the drumming pattern, its tone setting the scene very well for the first dip in energy. The chords arrive during this dip in energy to provide further feels, the overall picture now complete as we nod our heads to the beauty of it all, taking in all we can as elements float pass. The track continues onwards from this point, its objective complete in providing us with a final reference point on a brilliant record, one that is filled to the brim with liquid like transitions, a dynamic sense of energy, and an level of bliss few producers are able to match.
Coming off the back of that record, you look at the room around you, take a deep breath, and exhale. There are many, many things going on here that reveal themselves to you in the slightest of ways, like layers of melodics tumbling over one another in a brilliantly formed sequence, or the wonderfully considered drumming patterns that are so soft yet forceful at the same time, or the quiet moments where the melodics are given the room to poke through the clouds for the briefest of interludes. Deupree does it all - and more - on this record, as he showcases his mastery of tone and environment building to the utmost degree, be it pummelling our minds with progressiveness or soothing the soul with delicate textures and patterns. You leave feeling so very content indeed, having embarked on a journey where the guiding hand feels like everything outside your window and yet everything in close proximity that you hold dear, such is the scale of the emotions we feel when this record starts to play. Its one we cannot recommend enough, and will for sure be one of our favourite reissues of the year.
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