Marvo Genetic - New World Basics (4Lux Recordings, 2020)
The rhythms of yesterday never sounded so inventive as the ones found on this brilliant surfacing of subscapes and sonic vistas.
To delve within the 90s is to loose yourself to the sheer audacity and scope of it all. The idea of reinvention and re imagining became almost a first step for those who saw gaps and missing links in the burgeoning dance music community, where the relationship between people and musical machines moved into the realms of the unknown, the outer reaches of plausibility and beauty. These new worlds of sound were explored in numerous ways, with the examples that displayed the largest scope for input becoming those that still stand out to this day, with the music within seemingly never ending in its scope and ability to move us to worlds that still remain untouched. It was this approach that keeps the affinity with this period of music so strong, with people unearthing the character and flavour of producers and groups who crafted the most ground breaking music going, with the music existing in this kind of flux. Particularly within the realms of techno/dub techno, IDM and deep house, you get this feel that the producers were looking to extend their vision beyond their current time frame, to build these links that would continue to push through into the future with each year that passed, the musics enduring appeal extending beyond the perceived walls and growing in a morph like manner. Its for good reason that we remain in awe of these records, our interest looking to evolve and delve within the many strands of thinking that unravel within these slices of gold, their contents standing up to the rigours of time. To look back now at these records is to see a blueprint beginning re-written constantly, the tools and feels the subject of frequent change yet always interlinking with one another, individuals and groups always on their toes in how their music can inform or be influenced by others in those scenes. So its always of additional interest when these records resurface in todays contemporary scene, where we start to see how these echos begin to resonate and contextualise modern day producers. When this occurs, not only do we see the links begin to form, but the past begins to come back into life, the meaning of the records then and the meaning of them now comes full circle. Our missing gaps become filled, the dots align just that bit closer, as we appreciate these tunes for what they are - timeless classics.
If anyone can define what the 90s was all about, then the production trio of Dirk-Jan Hanegraaff, Gert-Jan Bijl and Mark Ripmeester might be the people you single out as producers who took the most intensive and productive journeys of all. Their shared collection of works, be it recording under their own name, within a group setting, or under one of their endless alias, is staggering and bewildering in its scope, unprecedented and supreme in its achievements, solidified and timeless its varying legacies, its hard to consider the European house and techno scene without this trio. The very ideals and enthusiasm that grace European techno flow freely from their work, their expansive and fundamentally fresh take on all flavours has allowed many to deeply dedicate themselves to their releases. Its the manner and the quality of it all that leaps out at you immediately, the dedication to the craft exuding from the music so consistently and seductively, our hearts and minds locked in to all they have to offer. The trio have successfully achieved this all within their solo careers, but it was as a grouping that they introduced themselves to the world so dramatically and emphatically. In the form of three quite diverse projects, the trio would touch base on all the importance facets of 90s dance, be it the tender tones of melodically rhythmic house, to beautifully composed acid tinged stompers, through to dub techno masterclasses that are still expanding to this day, its hard to think of a group who pushed so much so hard during these initial exciting years of interpretation. As Its Thinking, the group released two EPs, 1992's 'Afterglow' and 1994's 'Hyperion', both of which are heralded as true classics from the era. The balance between beat progressions that sink their teeth right into the dance floor, to the superbly collated melodic features that traverse space and time, both albums are just so excellent, and well worth checking out - our favourite tracks include 'Hyperion' and 'Down In A Bubble', both absolute beauties. Another group of theirs, Sunshower, focused more on the deepness evoked within classic techno and trance, where the pulse of the drums towered over a cavern of sonicness that never ever stopped giving over to us. They would release three EPs under the name, with 'Seven' and the self titled 'Sunshower EP' arriving in 1993, with the more euphoric 'Idiosyncrasies' arriving in 1995. All three delved deep into the dance floor, understanding its complexities and its flows, with the music being served up to us a result of dedication to the nature of groove and emotion. Sharp, energetic and frantic at times, it has that kind of movement that evokes the basic human need to move and dance, and its still as effective at that now as it was when it was first released. As a group, the trio pulled off some sublime work, its place amongst the greats of the 90s very much confirmed by ravers and music lovers alike, its timeless quality and forward thinking approach allowing its relevancy to remain for years to come. We haven't even really scratched the surface of what the trio would achieve later on in their careers - Bijl alone has over 23 alias and as many other group projects - but if you wish to delve deep into a sound that is guided by passion and drenched in tradition, interpretation and adoration, then look no further than these three and their extraordinary careers. Discographies inspired by that which flows around us, the swirling sounds, the heartbeat of the club, but also the contexts in which we find ourselves needing a musical companion. Its quite the trip, and who knows what you might discover along the way.
So now we arrive at the greatly anticipated reissue of their other group project, the singular release by Marvo Genetic, 'New World Basics', which originally arrived back in 1993. From a musical and visual point of view, this record feels very much the most expansive of the trios three group projects, with an emphasis on the connections we make with the textures and feels of the sounds unravelling before us. There's an emphasis placed on the concept of enveloping, where we situate ourselves within this sea of expanse and tone, our hearts and minds moving in and out of time as light and sound permeate through when needed, the environments around us shifting through differing colours and shades. The pulse, the ebbs and flows between our realised imagination and the sparks crafted by the music held within, nurture this extraordinary connection within us, an enchanting and endless masterpiece that knows no bounds or lines. The repress even features a previously unreleased track, so what is not to love. So lets take a dip already.
The opener, 'The Fourth Wave', begins off with the singular note calling to us from across a shimmering, hazy lake. The note is quickly joined by all manner of deep and emotive chords, their presence becoming more like a wall of sound that engulfs our minds. The enveloping sounds that dip and dive around us, with all manner of sounds and textures keen to get a chance to demonstrate how they operate within this landscape. The vibrancy levels are exceedingly high, our transfixed gaze always looking to delve a bit deeper into this never-ending expanse of mood, the perimeters seeming to always be looking out for more space to fill. The structures retained this beautifully considered loose feel, where the elements all melded together with each other, but then comes the drums, as the orchestra falls away in favour of a more clear cut chord progression. This is underpinned by the kick, joined at a canter by the bass line that pummels right through proceedings, with the chordal work and drumming patterns quickly evolving within this deep, deep record. The manner in which the track moves through the motions again and again, its such a pleasure to listen to, to get to know, delve within and understand, the varying elements and features that sing forth craft something so special, so invigorating. A narrative leaps from the page, one which has a lot to say, a tome that features so much. Superb. Up next comes the vocal mix of the previous track, and oh boy is it a nice compliment to the previous effort. The kicks and the cosmic chords start us off, with the cascade of keys giving over this beautiful texture to proceedings, the drive forward always given that extra bit of energy. The singular chords ring true in the distance, their presence reassuring and comforting, setting things up for more magic to come. The layering steps up a notch, with the chordal lines maximising their potential with all the goodness on earth, as the drums intensify their efforts to keep the energies burning so fucking hard. By this point we are completely locked into proceedings, our enthusiasm sky high, above the clouds, never coming back down, the scope of this track is just mind blowing. The manner of its journey intertwines with ours, the soul that resides deep within becomes on with our ears and our senses. Damn.
Up next comes 'The Opposite Wave', and the title feels somewhat appropriate to the vibe given off in relation to the previous two cuts. The frantic loop of the chords moves within this hard as nails beat structure, with the chords never giving up in their relentless pursuit of things, but its within the drums where the magic starts to arise from. The percussion drops out for a minute, and this allows a new melodic element to come into play, which feeds off of the existing chord loop. The drums rejoin, their flow and energy off the chain, with all manner of new elements moving in and out of view with ease and grace. A relentless take on classic 2nd wave techno, its a track that has a slight submissive feel to it, as in you really give into the nature of its energy, its will to get you to dance, and its very effective at that. You see a crowd being whipped up into a frenzy, a climax of energy that continually explodes and explores with equal levels of intent. The little key line that comes into view towards the end just gives the track that little bit extra level of spice to things. Glorious. Finally, we have a previously unreleased track, 'The Reprise', and its the perfect ender to this incredible slice of 90s dance music. The feels that exude of this track are immediate, its dense layering of chordal progressions and tones invite us one last time into the world found within the music, with the high end chords interlaid over the soft and subtle beats. The track has this wonderful sense of harmonic progression, utilising the strength of the keys to drive the track into new realms of existence. One final release of flavour, one more moment to become one with this superb release, a final connection to be felt within it all.
As reissues go these days, we are blessed for choice. But its the ones which truly add something new, a journey into the past, a meander through the minds and worlds of decades gone by, the enriching rarities that remained in the dark for so long, that really capture our imagination. These records link so much of it all together, that now we see these releases as something to marvel out - how did the future sound then, and this is what it sounds like now. 'New World Basics' has this kind of feel to it, a record that serves a purpose on so many emotional and technical levels, that we feel better just by having it within our presence. A reissue that will continue to resonate the legacy of the trio, their achievements solidified by passion, timelessness and vision. One for the ages.
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