VA: SplitEP3
Ai Records

Ai Records continues its output of ultra-refined electronic music-making with SplitEP3, the third chapter in its split series vinyl project. Shifting gears from the two-artist format, the disc features familiar (FZV, Jacen Solo, Sinner DC, Michael Manning) and new artists on what's more a 40-minute mini-album than EP. The collection nicely showcases the label's range, from pulsating beat physics and clickety techno-funk to orchestral mood music and vocodered blissouts.

On the tougher tip, FZV's opener “ARC_B-REEDIT,” a querulously brooding excursion into spectral electronics and rough-edged beat crunch, upholds the high standard of Richard Herbert's 2004 full-length Precedent while Yerk's future-techno cut “Pursuit” weaves hammerhead breaks and ornate synth filigrees into an aggressive Blade Runner-type vibe. At the opposite end of the spectrum, simulated strings weep over a candle-lit base of piano ruminations and electronic flickers in Blodyn Tatws' (Geraint Francon) lovely “Brand” before the set cools down delectably in Michael Manning's angelically wistful “Flytothemoon.” Somewhere in between lie Jacen Solo (Doug Adamson), whose “Shake Remix” stirs subtle hits of acid into slippery techno pulses, Jensen Sportag's “Just A Part Of Me,” a juggle of skipping electro-shuffles and vocodered singing, and Sinner DC's “Northbeach,” a staccato fusion of wordless shudders and combustible simmer. As per usual, the run's limited—500 copies on standard black and 150 on blue vinyl—so be quick.

November 2006