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White Noise: Akkord – Akkord001

Monday, 12 March 2012

Akkord – Akkord001

Label: Akkord

Everything about this release is steeped in mystery; the label, the anonymous Manchester-based group that made it, and the curious sounds themselves, but this tight collection of darkly atmospheric jams more than speaks for itself without much need for contextualisation. For anyone interested in sourcing the group, links to the likes of Synkro and Indigo seem apt; precise and percussive tunes that evoke a spellbinding mood situated somewhere between slow-mo DnB, ambient and the more spacious and cerebral end of early 2000s Dubstep.

These tunes are finely woven webs of moody ambient synthwork, evocative vocal samples and spine-tingling beats, and are marked by a fine craftsmanship throughout. Opening track The Drums is a strong mission statement for the sound, building to a powerful mixture of meditative samples and satisfyingly punchy beats, penetrated by a stuttering bassline deep in the low end. It’s all pulled off with a rare force that really hits home, and the dreamy vocals combine with the darker instrumentation to achieve an effect that borders on the spiritual. Second cut Back & Forth is just as strong, with a rumbling low-end that references Objekt’s Cactus but so much more restrained, with carefully applied clicks and beats conjuring a vast sense of space. This would all make for a fine track but just over the halfway-point a stuttering vocal sample takes centre-stage with a deep reverberating bassline, creating a stunning and surprising crescendo that makes the track a real treat from start to finish.

Akkord keep up the high quality in final track Renewal, a more restless number that lays a bed of tightly woven synths to anchor attention-grabbing percussive snaps until it settles into a tense groove that references the dark Electro of Instra:mental if their work were moved from claustrophobic corridors to a vast, echoing chamber. As the sounds fade midway a deep bass wobble keeps the tension mounting through a long ambient breakdown, and tight layers are added and removed to keep the tune interesting right up until the end. It’s busier and almost serves as a culmination of the ideas presented across these three brilliant tracks, proving how a keen sense of space and timing can make all the difference between a good release and a great one.


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