Substation Recordings’ return continues with a smoothed out exploration of the deep, techy and dissonant. Sampler Two retains the left-of-center tonal qualities of its predecessor, Sampler One, and transfers focus to a lighter and airier frame of reference.
Willingness to create challenging sonic landscapes defines this record - even the most melodic offering, Isis & Piper’s hypnotic Monochrome, sends curious radar blips across the stereo field, borderline atonal synth washes to balance the thump and stutter of bass. Piper’s vocal embodies a lonely and isolated aesthetic even as she delivers the life and soul to Isis Graham’s brooding framework - the notes she sings move dynamically even as she seems to circle endlessly around a single monotone delivery.
Audica’s Trik City pulls Sampler Two deeper into the techno swirl of reverberating staticy pads and echoing vocal snippets. A hypnotic three tone synth lead is a steady reminder of house’s enduring influence, but continual lifts and drops into oceans of twisting delay keeps listeners off guard and off kilter.
Disco-techno whiz Wax Romeo whips reverb synth stabs and pseudo-ominous vocal sampling into a dark and curious blend - “yo man you got pretty eyes, you know what I’m saying’?” Negotiate rides the dividing line between oddball and dance-inducing as effectively as the man himself.
Fekete rounds out the offering - Haakonsen pushes us into a textured tribal jam laced with meandering congas, warped chants and hypnotic tones. Percussive and vocal elements dance, shuffle and swap places at will here as Haakonsen guides us slowly and deliberately through his jungle of manipulated synthesized sound.