We probably weren’t aware at the time we first put out the tape, but 'Relentless Trills' really is one of the most intensely sensual, humid albums we’ve ever carried (let alone pressed up) - a masterpiece of all-tension-no-release slow moving dance music envisioned and realised with a single instrument - the Yamaha ‘Oriental’ keyboard, now somehow sounding x2 sweatier thanks to Rashad Becker’s transfixing new master.
DJ Plead is making some of the most forward thinking club music of our time, and on 'Relentless Trills' he switches gears for an entirely different proposition - one mostly shorn of a kickdrum, instead unfurling it slow, infectious, and deadly for the stickiest 40 minutes of music you’ll hear this year.
Recorded at home in Sydney, Plead dismantles his much-loved hard drum club style and drops the tempo, where he matches the waviest microtonal vamps with the signature, rhythmelodic lilt of his drums in a properly hypnotic style. Equally influenced by vintage dancehall riddims and the inspirational glow of CS + Kreme's psycho-ambient heartmelters, the results sound to our ears like an offshoot of Mutamassik releases for DJ/Rupture’s Soot, or Shackleton slowed to a hash-smoking drift and heading on a Mahraganat tip.
A hazy introductory piece of autotuned vocals and digital bass prodding seduces from the front, with the vibe spilling out into deep, spaced-out dancehall pressure with deliriously strong works almost nodding to Timbaland and The Neptunes in ‘RT5’, closing on a mesmerising beatless highlight in ‘RT6’ to seal the deal.
bblisss specialists special guest dj and Ben Bondy’s Berlin/Brooklyn duo, xphresh, debut a lush volley of shatterproof jungle accelerators and RPG intrigued illbient beatdown on the newly minted 3XL division of Experiences Ltd, finding a gaseous spot somewhere between DJ Crystl’s pioneering ambient hardcore and NWAQ x Final Fantasy
‘xephon’ is a dream fusion by two distinctive, dextrous catalysts of the current flux between dance and ambient poles. In five shots they careen from sublime junglist tension to subaquatic dub wooze, disembodied shoegaze and cyberpunk illbient gunk with a wickedly unresolved, fractal quality that’s a real pleasure to sink into. As pillars of a scene that’s emerged and helped reshape, displace definitions of “ambient” and “dance” music over the past few years in particular, their collision of energies here feels to model a lush form of quantum mechanics; evoking the sensation of existing in multiple states of emotional and physical excitement simultaneously.
Scaling between the gyring junglist roil of its title track and the post-club gouch out of ‘eikon’, xphresh hit squarely between their dilated 3rd eyes with a proper, rushy thizz. The ephemeral ballistics of ‘xephon’ are effectively congealed into the charged sot-dubstep plasma of ‘myst’, while ‘luh’ passes out into radiant choral bliss on the “up” side, contrasting with a deep sink into the queasy belly of 4 Hero’s Macro Dub Infection all-timer 'The Paranormal In 4 Forms’ on ‘scum break’, before they yield to the mazy emotional rip currents of their closing beauty. At each stage it’s easy to pick out their reference points, but their natural ambiguity and restless style means their coordinates are never fixed, always in search of an elusive ghost particle that’s in the shine-eye of the beholder.