Dartriix: Dartriix

Dartriix: EP 3

Ditch: Follow You EP

Dartriix partners (and op.disc heads) Tokyo-based Fumiya Tanaka and Paris resident Yoshihiro Hanno (aka Radiq) produce bass-heavy, future groove music that's two parts funky tech-house and one part jazzy swing. On their first full album, a restless and imaginative flow of voices and sampled sounds captivates the listener throughout the seventy-minute collection's dozen tracks. Being geographically separated, Tanaka and Hanno create their 4/4 material by swapping sound files and meticulously assembling minimal rhythm structures from snapping snares, snippety hi-hats, and pumping kick drums, and then spreading piano splashes, electronic accents, and samples of all kinds overtop. Their sound design talents come to the fore in “Barthazar” where pinging droplets echo and ripples shatter across a snaking throb. Though the duo hews to a core style (the quirky “Neverdie” suggests commonality between Dartriix and foundsound artists Someone Else and Fusiphorm), Tanaka and Hanno manage to cover a wide range of territory. There's acidy funk (“Which is Which”), spacey rumble (“Function and Cinema”), and the ear-catching “Who is Me?” which repeats a twisted gospel-soul snippet over a skeletal pulse. Drenched in reverb and echo, “Disruption Dub,” Dartriix's stab at low-end dub-techno, would do Rhythm and Sound proud. The boldest piece is “Superposition (Afro Relative)” where swizzling voices and African percussion are joined by a broiling techno pulse, while “Dipole” ends the album on a high by exchanging the group's minimal sound for a brighter and more cinematic tech-house style.

A natural complement to the full-length, Dartriix's third EP doesn't depart dramatically from the album in character: in “Never Die” (also included on the full-length), squirrelly electronics and swizzled soul vocals flow like oily liquid over the sputtering groove, and the pumping “Tokyo” maneuvers as stealthily as a shark cruising the ocean floor. The strongest piece is “Aura” which pursues a spacey and sleek Detroit vibe, with a repeating sonar signal augmented by upwardly-rising synths and bolstered by the crack of echoing snare flourishes.

The label's other new EP comes from Ditch (Shin-Ichiro Kono) who complements his Ditch Weed full-length with four new samplings. Like Dartriix, Ditch never loosens the reins so much that the material turns flaccid; instead, his work maintains a deft balance between open-ended experimentalism and artistic control. In the irrepressibly grooving “Wall,” snare accents and myriad samples cross swords and chatter throughout. In “Cubism,” a bass drum pulse anchors an animated swirl of greasy guitar lines, drums, and distorted voice edits. The final cuts migrate into a slightly jazzier zone: in addition to the rambunctious “Lysergot,” there's “Diverge,” which loops a Jaco Pastorius bass line for the anchor and then initially overlays a loping tribal drum pattern and subsequently a slinky dance-funk groove. Marvels of construction all.

December 2007