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R Weng - Life Principles (Temple, 2016)

Life affirming, warm and affectionate grooves on this most holistic and holy of house records.

What more can be said about the strength of the Canadian scene of the past few years? not much more on this blog, surely. The consistency, breadth of styles and the blends of concepts, is surely pushing electronica in all the right directions. We are witnessing (and listening to) a revolution from the scene, where reinvention of styles is being melded into a collectiveness that feels original, forward thinking, and constantly challenging our perceptions of what dance music can be. This writer has reviewed a far few Canadian exported EPs and LPs that showcase the diversity of the scene, so little more needs to be said just now about that!

Arriving at this point, on the discovery of the 2016 mini masterpiece from R Weng, we had to take another dip into the Canadian back catalogue. A certified Temple family member, he previously contributed to the 2015 release, 'Temple 2', and is a member of New World Science and Science Friction, who have released stunning EPs these past couple of years. He clearly looks to flex his creative muscles within groups who share similar passions, but here on this record we find ourselves getting to enjoy the producer solo. And oh boy, is it a future classic. A blend of dubby upbeat techno, with lyric stylings, to verging on the atmospherically complex and beautiful, the EP is perhaps a reflection of Weng's multiple group projects, that all showcase different flavours and sounds, and also a representation of the diversity of the Canadian scene. A true testament to the scene, this record is as impressive as it is sure of its content, a perfect blend of layered sounds working effortlessly alongside each other to achieve sonic beauty. We are all so grateful to receive such a wonderful gift from Weng, an enduring and emotive listen that will continue to allure people for years to come.

Up first we have 'Life Principles'. The track starts off on the front foot, a fast hi hat counter balanced with a short quip of acid and soft pads propping up in the background. This blend of the quick sharp beats to the soft pads is gracious and alluring, whilst the kicks, cymbals and acid give it this real gut punch. A proper balance is found within the tune, where the dancers get this moment to live within the highs and the lows, to perfect effect. The tune breaks down (slightly!), as the acid fills up more room, further propelling this monster of a tune further and further forward. The reverb comes in, adding more textures, before a proper hi hat workout comes into play. The track here feels like its coming proper full circle, moving and grooving along effortlessly, transporting us to higher planes of physical existence. coorr what a stunner. The lyrics even play their part, added in for a reason and not just a cheap narrative trick. They pass through the infinite stream of musical goodness coming our way, as we are offered a voice of sorts as our guide through the spectrum of sound. Up next we have 'Omni', of which might be the pinnacle of existence? The hazy dubby synths give way from their steady movement towards a series of pads that deviate from the norm, moving slowly around the consistency. The low ends add a sort of subtle riddim, that falls away to present us with a beauty of a broken beat, sunken into the synths perfectly, a flicker of life within a sea of tranquility. This kind of feels like Trudge if he went more fuzzy, mixed with the boundless expressionism of Garrett (AKA Dam Funk), in this sort of hypnotic melodic heaven. The chiming of a little key line adds another, more clear musical element, as the synths chug along graciously in the background. The texture on show in this song is unbelievable, a feeling that the tune has density and substance, depth and colour, light and darkness. All the feels are here, on show, doing their part. This song could, and should, continue on forever. A world of intrigue.

Up next we have 'Two Lions', that takes the sonicness in another direction. An arpeggio persists from the start, in fact a series, sort of, with pads gliding in within the background, on top of a toned down beat. Weng's use of drumming patterns on this release are inch perfect, used very much as a partner to the synths, never really taking away from them, only adding. The track evolves, as the synths move away, to present us with an otherworldly acid line, very reincisent of Galaxy 2 Galaxy, that take us from one dimension to the next. The synths and the acid grow together, as the line takes the middle ground, while the arpeggio continues within its own little realm. It truly is a testament to the texture and tones of these sounds that they envelop the listener entirely, taking us from all angles to far away worlds. The fact that this has developed over a 9 minute long cut is just amazing, this kind of hypnotic groove is only found with the right producer, the right train of thought, attention to detail and a feeling. This is that track. Faccccccck! Finally, we have 'Seven Years'. Just when you thought the low end beauties couldn't stop arriving, Weng has one final surprise for us. The emotive vibes are on full here from the beginning, the deep, unravelling synths display themselves at the start. The light drums in the backdrop add a bit of riddim to the proceedings, but its all about those synths. They grow in stature, as the kicks come more into the mix, and the tune enters its next life cycle. The flute, that damn flute, adds that little bit extra that gives the song such life; a breath of fresh air into the most fresh of tunes, it allows us to take a step back and just take it all in. The flute moves on top of the deep deep pads, as little percussive elements add this tonal element to the perimeters of the sound. A little key line is thrown in, adding another level of movement to the drumming. Its just majestic, thats all that can be said.

R Weng may have release just one EP under his own name (so far), but my god is it something else. A combo of the dub techno ideals, coupled with contemporary exploration of melodic progression, leaves us in a trance like state. The drums are paired back, blended into the synths at every turn, providing a beating, living breathing aspect to each song. The tunes feel alive, and we do as a result. A narrative this strong is only created through the impeccable blending of elements found on this record, and oh boy does this record have a FUCKING voice. Lost for words. Just give it a listen. Loose yourself.

Watch a video paired with the music from 'Seven Years' here, mesmerising:

Check out the rest of Temple's discography here, its all fantastic:

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