Sanjib - Lost Continent (Huinali Recordings, 2021)
On his latest record, Sanjib expands his dub techno sound to an even greater scale, with cosmic forces underpinning an expansive sound that encompasses all that we can see and experience.
There are quite a few genres that chime away in the background, feverishly exploring the undulations and morphologies of wavelengths and sounds in order to craft some kind of vivid picture for us to jump into. A sound where scenarios are bought to life by the drawn out nature in which we experience the world around us, either by choice or by convenience, with the noises and music swirling around us putting the pieces together that enable us to witness the feelings we might have as we meander through a certain place at a certain time. A background soundtrack with heaps of character and substance, a vibe that props up our inner notions with a sense of depth and reflectionism, as we enthusiastically walk a bit further into the varying membranes of human existence. Electronic music in particular has a special method in providing us with an endless sense of mental (and occasionally physical) transcendence, perhaps due to the fact that often the tunes have no lyrics and therefore no inherent conveyance of mood or emotional. This means that the melodies, the textures and the environment have to do the speaking for us, with the nature of the tracks providing a space for which we can project our own thoughts and feelings into the keys and drum as they pass by, filling up the spaces in the song with heaps of feels, tones and stories. Its an audial narrative that contains a number of elements that immediately draw us to a specific vision or image, where particular progressions and melodic characteristics help to place us in a lush green field, or in the bowels of a urban scene, or even within a place that we haven't yet experienced, either here or off world. Ambient music started the ball rolling with the idea of contextualised background sounds that filled the room we found ourselves in, and before long many other genres would look to harness the expanse of Ambient and infill the scope with elements and features that were reflective of the place in which the music was made. Techno, Dub Techno, Downtempo, IDM, Field Recordings and many more all looked to evoke moods of urban and rural areas through the notions of fusing personal experience with an open ended one, with the context defined by the manner in which the instruments feel and groove alongside one another, be it either the ethereal glow of soothing keys or the enriching deep flavours of a cosmic meandering through the sun setting night sky. Its these kinds of feels that do wonders in setting the vibe of the atmosphere, which in turn helps to conjure up the kind of scenario we start to see unravel before our eyes. From the aforementioned genres, Dub Techno is one of those genres that merges the sensibilities of Detroit Techno and channels it through a long play format, with tracks taking all the time they need to bind our emotions and feelings into their flowing narrative, with tunes really emphasising the idea of being deep within the chords and drums. As a genre its outlook is relatively simple but in turn it contains a plethora of stylistic notions that really elevate it as a genre that contains many a thought provoking turn of pace or movement into new realms of understanding, as our minds get pulled this way and that way by the sublime array of colours on display for all to see and delve within. With each producer comes a differing side to the story, a new twist on the narrative, a brand new chapter for which we can revel within and develop a deep adoration for, and for that we feel all the more richer from a musical point of view. Its touching and tender at the same time, the music creating a sonic soundscape of bliss to flow like water as we get taken away time and time again by the wonderment contained within.
An artist who has certainly embodied the notions of Dub Techno in its many forms is French producer Sanjib, who since 2015 has been perfecting the art of how keys and drums operate together over extended soundscapes of ever expanding boundaries. His sound design is expertly considered, with its origins starting off within the not so far away future before swinging right back round to our immediate foreground, as the spaces between are filled to the brim with things to do and monuments to marvel at. The variations that persist between releases are fleshed out with a continuity that sparks up images and internal discussions within our minds, allowing for the interest and engagement to be maintained through his works, with each record focusing on particular aspects as their driving force. Rhythm, chordal arrangements and texture all have a big part to play in the unravelling nature of the cuts, as whispers become gentle shouts before retreating into a sea of voices that all speak across the ethereal tundras that play out so elegantly in the sea of drums and keys. Its music that draws power from both the earth on which we stand and the orange tinged skies that lay themselves out over the terrain we visualise in the back of our minds, with the lay of the land constantly converging in on itself to then spread outwards in all directions, content in its spiritual and physical outline which never fails to tantalise us on all levels of existence. Sanjib's music doesn't rest on the traditional tropes of Dub Techno or Deep Techno but instead relishes the opportunity to play around and morph the genre's traditional feel in order to push sounds to their utmost limits, creating not just a singular plain for us to get involved within but multiple strands of emotion that ensure repeat listens are a given in moving the tracks onwards and upwards. His records speak for themselves, with each one providing a differing vibe to the last which as mentioned ensures that we are fully engaged with all that the music has to offer, with a constant flow of energy and tone leading us to new places that does an enormous amount to the mind and body, with each record conjuring up a differing set of scenarios for us to get fully involved within. His 2015 debut, 'Dark Matter', contained some wonderful moments of transcendentalism, with the drumming patterns uptempo and feverish whilst the keys looped and swelled on top with a majestic feel. 'Ocean of Light' followed in 2016, with this record slightly more downtempo in its feel, with the chordal arrangements allowed to really shine above a bed of quietly evolving drums and sweeping audial effects. 'Discreet' also landed in 2016, with this record providing a wonderful overview of Sanjib's sound, with the music contained with a real mix of gently floating soundscapes and slightly more lively undulating tones that do much to move the soul to heavenly places. 'One Year Alone' arrived in 2017, with this record acting as a triumphant return to blissed out high octane burners that again showed Sanjib's ability to create classy techno numbers with heaps of melodic excellence. Finally, in 2018 he released his debut LP, 'From Earth To Heaven', which represented his most ambitious collection of sounds to date, highlighting all the vibes and tones which he had pushed on his previous EPs and distilled it down into a collection of brilliant cuts. In all, Sanjib has curated a very open-ended musical identity, one that is characterised by perpetual flows and free forming notions that combine together expertly within records that are big on all encompassing visions and superior narrative mentalities, which provides us with so much to explore and get to know. Each release retains a personal identity that leaps directly out of the headphones and deep into the neurone network, setting off images and visions in our memories that take us to very particular places and contexts that does wonders every single time. If you like your techno very dubby, filled with melodic brilliance and variety in regards to compositions, then Sanjib's works are very much for you.
And now we turn our attentions to his latest LP, 'Lost Continent', with the record being released on the South Korean imprint Huinali Recordings. Described as a mental wondering through a secret continent filled with endless deserts, the music within certainly evokes the feeling of soft sand beneath your feet and a star filled sky above our heads, with the scale and sense of rhythm moving along to our heartbeats and the invisible forces that shift through the landscapes that persist all around us. His music has a wonderful ability to help us project ourselves from our current surroundings and into a context that persists somewhere in our imaginations, and this album is no different, with the overall quality of his debut LP very much present in this record in terms of diversity, presence and feeling. From the slow and steady moments that soothe us into a elegant bliss, to the soft percussive segments that get the blood pumping, through to the all encompassing moments of pure melodic euphoria, there's a scenario for everyone to get lost within, and with that lets take a dip into this sublime collection of tracks.....
Up first comes the title track, which begins with the up close drums vibrating out across the immediate foreground. Their placement leaves a significant amount of space for keys and elements to come and get involved within, which begins as the chords start to emerge in the backdrop, their presence soft and pleasant to the ears as we walk from behind a rocky outcrop and into a scene of far distant places and objects. The chords up the ante in terms of presence, sliding across the plains of emotion to occupy the top ends of the track with density and grace, with light chiming vibraphone notes adding contract to the fullness of the chordal arrangement which starts to see further layers added into the mix as time passes by. The track then takes a slight dip in energy to reveal additional notes that lovingly lay themselves out on top of the composition, taking the time to move with the sands as the drums then build themselves up to match this deft change in energy, with a swirling acid line thrown in for good measure to add just that little bit extra into the mix. After all that cascading, the drums emerge to become more full and engaging, with the kicks fuelling the movement into another phase of expressionism that only lasts for a few moments before descending back into a more subdued state of mind. There's time for one final flurry before the track sees itself out, making the journey from this world and into the sky to become one of the many stars that stares back at us from above. Sheer bliss. Up next comes 'Campfire Hypnosis', and this one begins with the slightly more up tempo drums getting the ball rolling. The glitchy textured percussive features give way for the steady kicks that drive through the middle, and before long these elements are accompanied by melodic flourishes that rhythmically play along to the pulse, with additional features sliding into the structure with a free flowing manner that does much to move the music onwards to very interesting places indeed. We remain firmly in the middle of it all, content to point out and look at all that flows from deep within with a sense of awe, with the gentle undulations providing such engagement to the senses like the ever shifting tone of the keys and the rhythmic vibrations of the drums, with the climatic breakdown occurring around the 3:30 min mark the first time we get to see the chords really come to the forefront. The next sequence is truly breathtaking, as the soaring keys come into their own as the presence of the track shifts from one of quietly speaking and into one of real significance, as the wind beneath our wings lifts us higher and then higher again. Brilliant stuff.
Up next comes 'Evening Walking', and this one starts off more full than the previous cuts. The drums at the start are quickly joined by the gorgeous key work, which shifts and grooves to create a scene of depth and presence, as chordal arrangements sweep through differing segments and spaces to craft a view that feels constantly on its feet. The expansive original composition then narrows itself massively to focus on just one of the layers of melodic expressionism, with the singular note moving through the gears alongside sporadic flourishes of keys and tones revolve around it. The way in which the track constructs itself from here is brilliant, with a sense of clarity evoked from the various layers that is crisp and precise to the ears, providing us with a sense of narrative that is highly engaging and enriching to the touch. Beautiful stuff. Up next comes 'Mauritanian Desert', and this one begins in suitably deep and understated territories. The drums are subdued and laidback but purposeful, their placement and application helping to move the composition onwards as the distant keys emerge from the backdrop to provide a sense of scale to proceedings, with this feeling only becoming more evolved and meaningful as time passes by, with the melodic features acting more confidently with each ongoing phase. The track then takes a minor dip in energy before coming back up again, with the pulses that run deep within the track taking the time to swell and groove when the time sees appropriate. The cut then reaches a head with the climatic ascend into a fully released soundscape, as the rising strings and rhythmic chordal arrangements going above and beyond to pursue an enlightened sense of mind within the listener, something that is achieved brilliantly in the proceeding segments. Its a hypnotic piece of music, with the track doing much to achieve its goals with a easy going sense of momentum that draws you in further and further into the mix with each passing second. A brilliant piece of music. 'Canyon of Lonely Mens' arrives next, and this one begins off with the textured drums getting the ball rolling. Their presence fills up the near entirety of the view, encapsulating all that has been achieved so far on this record in terms of building from the foundation up, and as we pass through a few bars the keys begin to emerge from the peripheries, initially as a singular eerie note but then into a fully realised spectrum of colour and emotion. The layered presence of the keys takes in all that we could hope for in regards to presence and feel, with the dip in energy allowing for us to get to know the vibes to their fullest extent, and before long the drums slide back into view with spectacular results. The composition is quite IDM in its arrangement, with swirling cascades of keys and notes merging together brilliantly to provide a spectrum of sensory engagement that gets the blood pumping with its mesmerising display of feel, with our heads stuck right in the middle of the commotion, looking around with child like amazement at all this cut has to offer. Brilliant stuff.
Up next comes 'At The Temple's Door', and this one starts off with the rhythmic melodies getting us going. The arpeggio sequence operates on two layers, with the immediate level one of clarity and feels with the background bass line adding a slight level of depth, and like with the previous cuts the scope is widened significantly with the addition of the drums, which only add to the rhythmic quality of the track moving forwards. The resulting sound is deeply emotive, seductive even as it entices us into its lavish environment which is filled to the brim with gorgeous tones and beautiful features that are so hard to not fall in love with. Its flow is brilliantly pulled off, never for one moment halting in its momentum but simply adding and then adding some more as time passes by. Brilliant stuff, once again! 'Hall Of Talking Paints' arrives next, and this one begins with the drums kicking things off. Their placement and overall tone is mesmerising in its feel and application, moving between the lines with a feverish level of intensity that gets the blood pumping throughout, and the world becomes that little bit more expansive as the keys slide into view, taking their time to reveal the fullest extent of the environment as differing lines move in and out of the picture. The additional melodic sequences further the sense of progression that keeps on developing as time passes by, with the high end keys providing that sense of wonderment that is so persistent throughout this whole journey. This track feels highly euphoric, suggesting that our travels have gotten us to a point where the night sky has become something we know quite well, the sands beneath our feet soft and familiar, the scene in which we find ourselves a context that we have gotten to know very well as a result of the music soundtracking our imaginations. A beautiful tune. To wrap things up on this mesmerising record, we have 'Spirits Of Moving Sands', and this one begins as ever with the drums getting the ball rolling. The distant synths skip across the top ends of the track, flickering in and out of time itself as the drums take no time in moving the composition onwards, with the melodic layers chiming away in the background waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves. The melting pot of feels and emotions is there for all to see, with the first dip in energy taking place as the hats emerge as a significant focus that in turn encourages the keys to come right to the surface in the form of the arpeggio key sequence. This movement onwards and upwards is beautifully pulled off, bringing the tracks varying elements together in a full circle kind of way, with additional dips in energy crafting yet another experience for us to get deeply involved within, and in that sense its pretty triumphant. Its the final foray into a dream like sequence that is filled to the brim with character, environmental development and instrumental creativity, which are all features we have come to expect from Sanjib and his endless scope for imagining far away worlds.
In electronic music, your world is only as good as the compositions that back it up, the complexity and manner in which elements flow and unravel being key to creating convincing and evocative environments and landscapes. Sanjib is a real master at this approach to making tunes that evoke certain moods and places within us, with his tracks helping to set the tone from the off then helping to build up these worlds through a brilliant sense of how varying elements response and converse with each other. Its this approach that gives his works a sense of vitality, a depth to their conversations and a meaning to everything that can be seen within it, and for this reason the music presented to us seems so very real and tangible. We really do get taken on a journey through the lost continent, with each track adding in new features, vistas, landforms and human scale experiences that make it all seem very believable. You can reach out and touch it, you can close your eyes and visualise it, as the sand blows between your toes and hair and the night sky is filled to the brim with gorgeous dots of light. A beautiful record that will have you imagining for days on end, simply glorious.
Support the troops: