Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SUB LIQUID "Apex"


This is what you'd call Utilitarian music; it is music that serves a purpose and is made to last. That purpose is to accommodate your art opening, bougis men's clothing store or trendy hookah bar for a significant amount of time. It is background music to be played at moderately loud volumes so patrons may enjoy its hypnotic electronic melodies while discussing the latest New Yorker article or whatever is hanging on your wall. It never interrupts or challenges its audience. It never fluctuates very much in volume or speed. It never drops a four/four tempo, and when it does it is implied with electronica harp loops, keyboard chords on up-beat or falsetto moog bird calls.

This isn't to imply that the artist, Sub Liquid, is a simpleton. There is a difference between making Utilitarian music and making lowest common denominator music that is what is commonly referred to as mindless house techno. This is due in part to Sub Liquid's decision making when it comes to what is sampled or what instrument is being played. There are cello riffs in here straight from a Bond movie colliding with reggae blunt hit beats. There are late night car ride ambient synth chillouts mixing with cheerleader hand clap rhythms.

I do have to reduce points for this cassette based on its poor design decisions when discussing the paper sleeve. The text is almost illegible and there is too much of a reliance on black. The patterns and textures generated are interesting but are also vague, blurry and undefined.

I am also dubious to the music's reliance on variations of the AMEN drum sample ... a beat pattern used to death and compromised by Taco Bell commercials and Stage D acts at the festival of the Juggalos.

But with that in mind, I find myself coming back to this cassette through my little amplifier again and again. It's like your go to sneakers, your BROOKS running shoes; they may not be the prettiest shoes you own, but you've worn them now for FIVE YEARS and they still look new. UTILITARIAN MUSIC, MAN.

This cassette will still be helping people make connections twenty years from now - it may be in the background, but Sub Liquid is floating out in sound waves through the universe right now ...

http://subliquid.bandcamp.com/album/apex

-- Jack Turnbull

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