Boomkat Product Review:
James Manning aka Sa Pa returns with his most meticulously crafted plate so far, contorting the Porter Ricks blueprint into fictile throbs of fuzzed bass and tape-fucked white noise.
Sa Pa's latest is pegged to concepts of mythology, inspired by Japanese storytelling, Slavic folklore and "real world experiences". Like Porter Ricks before him, Manning is fascinated by the concept of water and how that influences techno; if Drexciya rooted their productions at the bottom of the sea to suggest shrouded hope in the aftermath of chattel slavery, Porter Ricks looked to the ocean as an aesthetic pointer, letting the concept of a murky unknown inform their aqueous beats. The most obvious reference here is closing track 'Buyan', referncing the mythological Slavic island with the power to appear and disappear at will.
Manning interprets the legend using a washing, static beat and liquefied abstractions that rise and fall like waves. Basically it's like Rhythm & Sound reimagined for one of Michel Redolfi's legendary underwater performances. Elsewhere, 'Calm & Stormy' projects the sound into more sodden territory, dispensing with a beat almost completely, leaving inclement hiss and pétillant low-end in a nod to Sasu Ripatti's early run. 'Face West' is a crack of light in comparison, an irregular loping kick that's lashed to glowing pads and unruly insectoid glitches - it sounds like a rudimentary raft hitting against the shore as the sun peeks out over a distant island.
But it's the record's least waterlogged moments that are the most satisfying: the opening track deploys rolling percussion and broken electrical whirrs; and 'Lovember' sticks out as the clear highlight; centering a slow hard-swung bass pluck around little else.