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coverpic flag Canada - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97

Sect / Response Technique / Phoma

As a loyal Torontonian, it's hard for me to admit it, but the evidence keeps piling up, so I might as well give in: when it comes to the production of great electronic music, our cousins out west in Vancouver are soundly kicking our eastern asses.

I don't mean to imply that Toronto is lacking in talented producers and DJs. We've got the Legion of Green Men (and various aliases), the output of nice+smooth studios (reviewed by me for Luna Kafé a couple of months back), a booming jungle scene and more. But somehow, the Vancouver crews seem to be staying one step ahead of us in releasing some of the sweetest electronic sounds around.

Cube is one of the latest releases to issue from this fertile scene. The concept here is "three artists, three tracks each, and three labels", and 3x3x3 = Cube. The project is overseen and marketed by Subduction, a Vancouver based label that also has a distrubution arm (and website) based in Japan.

Sect's trio of tracks kick off the disc in fine style. Evanescence 2 starts with a reverberating synth line, which is joined by layers of sound and a shambling beat. Somewhat Autechre-like in its structure, the track eventually reverses upon itself, losing the layers until only the beat remains. The two minute Equator provides a brief beatless interlude, and leads into Reconnaissance, another track that builds layer upon layer before stripping down to a wash of ambient sound.

Response Technique - a new project from Romeo Lakovic, known for his previous work as Deviator - is up next with three pieces of spacey ambient-dub that are very evocative of the material being released by his fellow Vancouverites over at Map Records. The middle track, Expedition, highlights RT's best elements with burbling synth sounds, shuffling beats and a smooth, organic edge.

Last but not at all least comes Phoma, aka Stephen Rosin, a 15 year veteran of music and multi-media production. His first track, White, is the disc's weakest point - it's not bad, but it's also not very innovative, sounding like an excerpt from any generic "intelligent techno" release of the last couple of years. But where Phoma really comes through is on the final track, Black, a sinister ambient work that has me really looking forward to the trilogy of releases Rosin has planned in the coming months.

Bottom line? Cube is an excellent debut for Subduction, and an excellent cross-section of material from three of Vancouver's finest electronic musicians. I anticipate many wonderful things from this camp in the future.

Copyright © 1997 Greg Clow

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