Tuesday, June 22, 2010


00 Phaeleh-Cheki
01 HxdB-Invisible Touch
02 Psychonaught-I Just Want You

The latest from Formant Recordings is a globe-spanning affair, a split EP comprising brand new tracks from Bristol’s Phaeleh, Vancouver’s HxdB, and Newcastle’s Psychonaught. None of these producers are exactly newcomers but these songs strike out like fresh, confident debuts, going for the jugular -- after all, when you’ve only got one track, you’ve got to make it count. Phaeleh’s “Cheki” is a meditative stepper that grooves on subtle Asian vibes, glassy percussion and soft flute sounds kindling a loungey mood overwhelmed by the mounds of sub-bass power lurking underneath the track. The skittering garage beat and distant vocal imbue the track with subtle sensuality, for one of the sexiest tracks since, well, Formant’s last release. HxdB’s “Invisible Touch” lurks closer to the surface, with vocal samples as glowing cinders acting like periodic skylights, as beautifully filtered guitar plucks float in like momentary rays of sepia sunlight. Reality sets in when a ferocious riff rips the sound from the surfaces of the track and violently pulls it down the centre in one ugly stroke of digital distortion -- it’s a surprise that never ceases to startle every time, the kind of stuff that would implode a rave. Closing the EP is the twilight Burial invocation of Psychonaught’s “I Just Want You” -- but the ultra-clear percussion a far cry from Burial’s dusty archival beats. The familiar vocals are anguished but powerful, relishing in their own strangulated muscle, straining against the pressure of the track and struggling to break through the mournful din.