Sophisticated mutant acid techno? yeah sure thing! an offering of top notch quality from the Virtual Urban Records camp.
Some labels do like to push into the realms of the unknown. Borne from the ideals of predominantly late 80s and early 90s experimentalism, here in the contemporary musical landscape we are spoilt for choice for artists and labels making tunes that question and delve deeper than ever before. Taking apart genres piece by piece, only to build them up in their own image, crafting moments of pure energised bliss that caresses the soul and moves the feet. Within the sporadic and ever changing electronic music landscape we swim within, its often the people to harness that energy, that momentum, that really turn our heads. They truly understand, they meld and blend and drive through that ideal to the maximum. Oh how we need them now perhaps more than ever.
Virtual Urban Records has been doing their thing since 2013, and have churned out quality upon quality release since then. They take accepted norms and structures, then meld them and bend them to their will, producing music that feels as raw as it is touching. A rare blend between moments of tranquility transposed with moments of pure unapologetic energy, we only wish the ride could last forever. Some select highlights include Wildlife E.T's pure adrenaline inducing 'Daemonum' EP, alongside Delayscape's beautiful 'Goodbye Arpeggiators' album, its all damn good and damn headfucking. Really, take our word for it. The focus of today's review will be their latest offering, Resting Cell's deep and hazy acidic 'Sporulent' EP. He has been quite busy since his debut releases back in 2012, 'Akinetes In the Sand' and 'Acid Bleeder', and has been spanning the realms of high octane acid, electro, IDM and more ever since. His latest offering does just that, blurring the lines between the genres to craft melodies that haunt, lines that chill you down your spine, beats that shake the bones. Its heavy duty listening, but you often find yourself so immersed in the density of sound that getting lost is as beautiful as it is bewildering. Lets take a dip into our first 2020 review.
Up first comes 'Murastrum', and to kick it all off we have a deep hazy hue of a pad, echoing around. This is joined by a small wee little arpeggio line, that covers all the bases, before the drums kick in, slow and steady but pulsating so strong. This signals in some more layers, as the tune starts to swell and swell, providing us with many strata to get involved in. The arpeggio takes centre stage, but by its occupation of the top spot, we are always constantly drawn to the other elements doing their thing on top, behind and underneath. The drums up the tempo to include some high octane hi hat work, as the key work just keeps on doing its thing, the song moving through its various phases and scenes. You can feel the motions of the cogs, the flow of machines and time. We haven't even discussed the tones and textures on display, which all add to the allure of the track. Next comes 'Spoar Boardz', that comes in straight away with its metallic softness. A broken beat underlays a series of deep emotive synths, providing lots of space for lots of intriguing little variations in the drumming. A little key line joins in the fun, adding this little bit extra on top, to really take the track to new places. The key line just keeps moving through the motions, you can see the waves of the synths flowing and fluttering through the thick haze. What a tonal triumph! Next comes 'Magral Vane', that keeps the flavours coming. The drums set the pace, and the keys join in for good measure. Deep bass tones reside underneath another set of swelling synths, that move to the background to allow for the pulse keys to really get their groove on. The spaces afforded allow the track to reach plains in other realms, really taking us into the outer reaches of time and place. The small variations give this track a real sense of purpose and personality, as if Mr Cell is really having fun playing around with the perimeters he has set in place for this track. The synth work is really playful, as if its been injected with stimulants and allowed to bounce off metaphorical walls until its run out of energy. And we don't see an end in sight to that at all. Around the 5 minute mark, another synth line gets thrown in, adding further intrigue to a track filled to the brim with rhythmic synthy goodness.
'Reclain Odyssey' comes next, with the drums setting the tone. Designed and tonally on point, it provides the bedrock for other worldly bounces of synths to come into play. Weird and off the wall, this track could go in any manner of directions. Its nice here that the intro remains a bit more played out, allowing us to imagine the direction in which we might be taken in. And, true enough, the synths come down, droning in all their glory, eerie yet weirdly comforting. They provide all the melodic context for the first movements of the tune, not giving anything else away at all, before the density is added with some piano of all things. The experimentation of various layers comes into play here majorly, with a series of pads, piano and bass moving this track from a sense of otherworldly rigidity and into a series of strange scenarios and unreal places. 'Delim Visual' comes next, and we are greeted by the warm embrace of synths. This might be the most tender pads yet, that are joined by slow and steady drums. The track takes us close, perhaps closer than any of the other tracks, and tugs at the heart strings more than challenge our minds. Beautiful, slow and layered, it has it all. IDMy goodness! To finish off proceedings, we have 'Extole to Expire'. This one begins off with some chimey drums, interlaced with some soft yet pitched to fuck synths. Its joined by a little textured key lines, that simply sits on top of it like a fluttering bird. The drums and the keys sing to each other, coaxing one another to be bold and brave, to push themselves. Its a wonderfully balanced relationship, for these two to exist alongside each other. It feels like the musical equivalent of a platonic hug, you feel at ease, warm and happy, blessed by the other being's presence. Fucking wonderful.
Well well well, that was an interesting journey. Resting Cell brings to the table a unique blend of sounds, taking into account the beats, the synths, the atmosphere, and the relationships that make electronica tick. He delves into the heart of experimentalism and brings forth tracks that compel and challenge in equal measure, be it for their sonic qualities or their perfect balance. Here is an EP that provides an immense level of audial delight, and one that will continue to reverb throughout the year to come.
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