Boomkat Product Review:
Peak Oil boss Brian Foote (Leech, Kranky) teams up with Spring Theory alum Sage Caswell on this loop-based exercise in melodic drift music that functions as an ambient DJ tool. Engrossing stuff that's sure to appeal to fans of Experiences Ltd, Warp's Artificial Intelligence comps, Pendant, and Jake Muir.
Based in Los Angeles, Foote and Caswell initially connected to pen a series of improvised atmospheric soundtracks for a local art gallery. Both producers are experienced DJs, so began to think of the location like a map to a mix, with the audience acting like a crossfader as they pass from room to room. The installation was never completed, but on their debut full-length Smoke Point extend this concept into an album, letting interlocking loops, pads and rhythms guide the listener's focus - like a DJ tool that's more suited to ambient music but still features plenty of rhythmic moments, with the vinyl version including locked grooves for added wooo.
Foote and Caswell strike an interesting balance between the dancefloor and the back room; Foote has long wrestled with these two poles (just peep the last Leech 12" "Data Horde"), and his studied expertise pays off here. Even when the tracks focus on rhythm on the lengthy 'Steam Machine', where glacial new age sounds divert into TR-808-led footwork, there's a placid lightness of touch that retains a sense of ambient logic. Fully rhythmic tracks like 'Waterwheel' and 'Smiley' don't sound out of place either, reminding us of a time (probably deep in the first few years of the 1990s) when beatless music and horizontal techno co-existed happily in dry-ice filled chill-out rooms across the world, like Ambidextrous, not far from here, on Ducie street.