16.01.2012, Words by Charlie Jones

Albums of the week

New-ish year, new-ish feature. Every Monday, the Dummy staff will roundup the most important albums of the week, summarising records by the world’s biggest stars and pointing you in the direction of ones the world may have passed by.

Album of the week // Porter Ricks – ‘Biokinetics’


The German duo of ambient sound artists Thomas Köhner and Andy Mellwig formed in the early 90s and started releasing 12”s on Chain Reaction, the sub-label of dub techno’s creators, Basic Channel. Porter Ricks’s music had many parallels to the bleak minimalism of their label heads, but also combined a visual aspect and a strong theme of water present in both their sound and identity. The song titles in ‘Biokinetics’ range from real-life and imagined ports to the more straightforward “Nautical Dub.” Sonically, the duo present their watery soundscape as a sparse yet nebulous collection of hushed beats and bubbling bass. Nothing is ever that clearly defined or thrown right in the listener’s face, whilst expansive reverbs remain in a state of constant flux to give a sense of the movement and grandness that oceans bring to mind.

With dub techno still captivating and evolving, the reissue of this album is an enjoyably murky dive back into to its beginnings and the understated genius of it all. – Zara Wladawsky

When asked about their preoccupation with all things aquatic they once responded, “The nautical view evokes a clear vision, something freeing. The club as a diving platform, and techno as a nautical sound experience, a project that lies between clubs and art.” It’s not all high-brow doom though: in a stark contrast to the seriousness of their music, Porter Ricks is actually a character from the TV show Flipper. With dub techno still captivating and evolving into hybrids of other genres (Pinch & Shackleton, anyone?) the reissue of this album, especially being pressed on vinyl for the first time, is an enjoyably murky dive back into to its beginnings and the understated genius of it all. [ZW]
Stream ‘Biokinetics’ here
Buy ‘Biokinetics’ here

The Caretaker – ‘Patience (After Sebald)’ [History Favours The Winners]
Berlin-based sound artist Leyland Kirby makes music as The Caretaker, and this is his latest album, the soundtrack to a movie by Grant Gee. The film is a documentary about WG Sebald, a writer not a million miles from Kirby’s work – both deal with memory, and are big fans of forgotten places on the English coast. ‘Patience’, like his wonderful, Alzheimer-themed record of last year ‘An Empty Bliss Beyond This World’, is made from processed scraps of sound, (a 1927 Schubert performance forms the base of much of this lovely album) arranged and cloaked in reverb. And while the Burial-by-way-of-Britten schtick could wear with a lesser musician, it’s a lovely listen throughout. The Caretaker has one trick, but it’s a bloody good one. [CJ]
Buy ‘Patience (After Sebald)’

The Big Pink – ‘Future This [4AD]
Two and a half years on from ‘A Brief History of Love’, The Big Pink are back, big as ever, but a bit less pink, unfortunately. Paul Epworth’s maximalist production sounds here as massive as before, and such an unfashionably enthusiastic and ambitious standpoint has to be admired. The problem is that, without the melodies such a sound demands or the dynamics that let the listener into the songs, too many tracks fall flat. Some tracks have great moments, like the bombastic Stay Gold, or the endearingly tender ’77, but overall, it’s a bit tiring without much pay-off. [CJ]
Stream ‘Future This’ on Spotify

Plug – ‘Back On Time’ [Ninja Tune]
As the man of many aliases, Cornish electronic artist Luke Vibert has almost 20 years experience but it seems he already had the right idea three albums in and 15 years early with ‘Drum ‘n’ Bass for Papa’ as Plug. His novel and ever so subtle (piss) take on the genre received a mixed reception from hardcore D&B fans at the time, before going on to become a seminal departure. Not surprisingly, this recent compilation of found tracks, out on Ninja Tune, finds its audience in the attention deficit ‘net generation. Sample clutter and frenetic tempo shifts challenge the likes of Flying Lotus and Daedalus to a showdown. [SK]
Play ‘Back On Time’ on Spotify

Oval – OVALDNA [Shitkatapult]
After a good decade of silence, Oval’s Markus Popp added a ninth album to the clicks and cuts catalogue with “O” in 2010. It marked a departure from the highly conceptual work of his creative abuse (most commonly known as glitch) applied to all sorts of digital audio equipment. These created a strange array of sonic fragments that were then painstakingly compiled and composed into some very unusual, although weirdly familiar, rhizomes of sound. To mark a shift into the fun rather than the theoretical realms of sound production, “DNA” is a belated look back at the living sounds he’s found within this synthetic medium of composition. [SK]

Expensive Looks – ‘Dark Matters’
Despite what the title might suggest, New York producer Alec Feld’s debut album as Expensive Looks is not a heavy listen. While he has remarked that it refers to his frustrations with the pursuit of happiness, to outside ears it celebrates the space in which everything even remotely exciting happens: the dark of night with its dancing, deviance and debauchery. There’s plenty of all three in evidence on this accomplished debut; it flirts and flutters with that familiar first-time thrill, excitedly mining dance music’s past with fresh young eyes. The result is a pulse-quickening collage with much to distract and entertain. [RS]
Buy ‘Dark Matters’

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