A very commemoration that celebrates the diversity of Triplicate Records. It's more than a futuristic stroll down some memory lane of collective works, but rather a beautifully vibrant amalgamation of the best of the best in the current universe of sound. 10/10
Favorite track: Time Rival - Astray.
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Red Shift is our first of three Various Artists compilations for 2020 and features brand new music from 17 wildly talented artists from the online electronic music community.
~Michael Southard - Triplicate Records
Red Shift. Triplicate. Seventeen tracks, seventeen electric weirdos. No that's not the title of the most distressing porno you've ever seen, but rather the coming together of myriad styles and genre-fusions to create one surprisingly cohesive package of bleeding edge, entirely warranted musical flexing. This mammoth project, curated by ex-manglers, now full time Triplicate Records figures legends features a stunning showcase of talent. If the listener recalls the halcyon days of online electronic music collectives, (I think maybe three years back?) they'll recognize many a name on this stellar record which manages to transcend massively beyond a simple 'who's who' playlist for the underground electronic scene. Credit regarding the coming-to-fruition of this project should be rewarded to the excellent production work, and the time that has been clearly taken to ensure the sequencing plays out nicely, which is to say the work of Michael Southard & Bryan Kraft respectfully. I think the other guy from Triplicate, the weirdo who does the reviews, whatever his name is, he's got a track on there somewhere too but for now, let's examine what proteins are being worked with in this beautifully bizarre aural kitchen.
A fine offering from the Bristolian glitchmaster Crest of the Syndicate chops up writhing vocal samples over a tricky beat that screams forward momentum seems like a perfect opener, and sets the stage appropriately for the left-field excursions that follow. Indeed, from early BOC-esque head-phuqqery the listener is then thrust into an impromptu acid-detour by that Suncastle guy, offering up a track with a murky squelch of a growl, the torch of which is promptly picked up by Station Zero, who as always injects a flair of menace into the proceedings, here recalling the darkness of his Triplicate release from last year 'People', but with a more percussion-focused approach. Not long after comes the slow fade-in of Fragile X's 'Qualia', and you could be forgiven for assuming the record is taking another sharp turn into ambient territory, until the insect electronics and relentless rush of drums hits your sweet spot.
Tranquilization fans rejoice however! Ambient detour incoming! Your first tour guides being Triplicate in-house ambient correspondent Time Rival and his beautiful piano piece 'Astray' which (god forgive me) reminds me of Rayman 1 & that makes me very happy. The electric Texan Richard Alfaro continues this trend with a short but brain-bending lovely interlude entitled 'Index' which acts as a nice palette cleanser leading in to Dark Fidelity Hifi's wonderfully chaotic yet cohesive 'Fume Jazz', which I am henceforth going to presume is a genre unto itself. DFH's jazz stylings Segway seamlessly into Beefus B's similarly scattered percussion-laden contribution 'So Far from Where I Am', where schizoid hi-hat stylings and bubbly bass keep the good times rolling.
The midpoint of this record seems to be packed with the big beasts of the scene, as part-time fox, part-time Potoo all time legend and Triplicate's correspondent for Italy Danny Playamaqui takes a break from his extremely hectic schedule to offer up a delicious slice of his trademark microtonal technofunk that leaves a sweet taste, as does the fraught yet delicately delightful following piece by the elusive Mood Exhibit entitled 'Modern Temple Templates'. Here you'll find tricky percussionistic propulsion, disembodied voices and soaring synth arpeggios duelling it out to determine what the slickest (((thing))) on the record is. It may in fact be the following Belial Pelegrim masterpiece (let's face it, that word gets thrown around a lot when describing his songs) 'Kamma', a surprisingly laid-back offering from the big man, filled to the brim with micro-house stylings, pitch-bending and Oval-esque aquatic textures.
The home-stretch kicks off in Argentina, land of steak, Max from the blue meanies & MMC veteran / wunderkind Aughflair's trademark off-kilter experimentation on the endlessly fun 'Sabado' with its unconventional but rewarding stop-start world tour stylings. From here, another huge(-ish) name graces this humble collection, Mr. Chris Randall pays a most welcome visit, dropping off a measured and expertly sequenced slow-burner entitled 'All the Lines in Order'. Here we have bliss-soaked floaty pads and windows soundboard keyboard soft-stabs coating the ever-evolving track in a slick veneer of sheer god-damned competence.
Next comes the longest track on the record, the elephantine seven+ minute banger 'Universal Children' clangs about for a wee bit, seemingly drawing from every synth setting on the Heino-avatar'd Chaircrusher's collection before a pattering of percussion injects method into the madness, bringing to mind the heights of his February Triplicate release '3Phase'.
Joplin MO composer Whettman Chelmets handles the penultimate spot with a shoegazey ambient trip that feels like a much needed breather after the heights of the last eight beat-heavy offerings. Time mercifully pauses for a hot gorgeous moment allowing reflection on what came before. Before you know it you're hit by the spaced out stylings of BVSMV. Credits roll to this phantasmic synthwave closer entitled 'Green Eyes' wherein light purges the darkest recesses of these vile times, if only for three minutes and thirty-eight seconds.
It would be perfectly acceptable to wax lyrical about how this record is a testament to the power of collaboration in the global age, bringing together artists from around the world (ok mostly America but whatchagondoboutthat?) to synthesize some bright future but in truth that's just one side of it. The reality is often less saccharine but all the more meaningful. These are real people with 'real' jobs working in tandem with their aural side-hustle. What unites them is a shared sense of purpose, the need to create. Sometimes they push the boundaries of musical sense, at other times they wallow in the afterglow of their excellence, but there's a distinct lack of pretention. For all the talk of Soundcloud denizens and Aphex-disciples it's easy to forget these are human beings forging their own incredibly weird path through this thankless but endlessly fun lifestyle, and that is justification alone for this record to exist, if ever justification was required.
So you should probably give it a listen.
~George Evans - Triplicate Records
released April 24, 2020
Every track was written and produced by the respective artists
Mastered by Michael Southard
Artwork by Bryan Kraft
It's really a perfect blend of light and dark as far as I'm concerned. Every track utilizes each instrument with grace and exists in its own specialized area. Events unfold in clever ways throughout. Belial Pelegrim