Ekoplekz Live At Dubloaded LP

Ekoplekz: Live At Dubloaded (Further Records LP and cassette)

Vinyl promos are as rare as hen’s teeth these days – definitely a mark of seriousness. Although, to be honest, surplus to requirements in this case. I’ve been sent Ekoplekz CDRs, I’ve been sent Ekoplekz cassettes, I’ve been sent yer white label promos. I’ve listened to them all, several times over, and tried to write about them all as well.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the music is great. The second is that I like the man behind the Ekoplekz project a great deal, having read his music writing since the halcyon days of music blogging in the early to mid-noughties and had all my favourable prejudices confirmed when we finally met before the Ekoplekz / Hacker Farm session on Resonance FM. I like him, and I also like his approach to music production.

It’s easier than ever before to make music – and this should be great, right? A thousand urchins’ unbridled creativity unleashed and unbounded, producing sketchy or symphonic soundtracks that document 2011 or wilfuly fail to do that, chronicling some mentalist polski sklep-fueled dystopian sci-fi nightmare instead.

And yet, my inbox is filled with the same old bollocks – somebody with a very ordinary name (or an ordinarily wacky pseudonym) has made a dark/funky/disco/electro/bass/whatever “stormer” that is being played out or remixed or whatever by lots of other people with very ordinary names. Delete. I am too old for this shit.

I suspect Ekoplekz is too old for this shit too, which is why he has toiled away for years on various bits of non-computer hardware, hiding away from the world to develop his ninja skills and trying and do something else, something that catalyses his influences, but remains uniquely him. New broom might bring the hype and sweep the place clean, but old broom takes its time and finds all the corners.

The album is recorded off the mixing desk, so it lacks crowd noise but is excellent quality (mastered at D&M in Berlin, no less). I think Dubloaded was the first Ekoplekz performance and remember reading that Nick was pretty nervous about it all, but it comes across great. If the Vortex gig in Hackney earlier this year (thanks again to Johnny Mugwump) was anything to go by, Ekoplekz live is one human with a table full of gear, all of which might or might not function at various points throughout the set.

[photo from here]

The album has a hesitant start. You can almost see Nick turning on his various bits of archaic kit and giving them a thump to get them going. This intro bleeds into a swirly Radiophonic Workshop riff, which then gets joyfully tweaked and fucked about with. An off-kilter ambient interlude follows with occasional farty noises, fading into some beats and synths not entirely dissimilar to the best bits of Throbbing Gristle’s “Heathen Earth” album. Pulses. Themes. Thematic pulses.

The beginning of side two is quite minimal, but as with all great minimal music it’s configured to feel like there is still a hell of a lot going on. A more technoey jagged loop shatters the tranquility and Nick starts dubbing things up especially for me. We enter rugged urban nighttime soundtrack territory, where the streets are empty and not always well lit. The journey ends with some rhythmic headfuck material.

I’ve played this lots, often twice in a row. It just… works.

Soundclips and Order direct: http://www.furtherrecords.org/fur-041.html (or get from your usual supplier)