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BLACK BEACON SOUND

Forged by RPG attempter and wave actuator Apta, 'Tabula Rasa' is a juxtaposition of the saturated apreggios and simplistic melodic repetition of late 80's videogames with his interest in precise, poppy synth production and crisp sidechained pads, both tracing the peripheries of anthemic rock chord progressions and key changes. 'Fading Fire' kicks things off with a simplistic saw wave chug, growing into a mid-heavy DX7 tine before launching straight into the full-spectrum sonic wash of 909 kick and ducked throbs. This churning backdrop is ridden by a snapping, syncopated x0x lead which slowly fades into the rising tide of sweeping filters and twinkling echo before being joined by panned modular strikes and reverbed wood blocks. The motif of thematic repetition and cyclic growth is an intentional nod to (or influence from) cinema and game soundtracking, with a variation on a theme revisited with renewed instrumentation or speed. It's on followers, 'Trial' and 'Esfand' which this shows most clearly, with the former rising from a wistful saw pull and twinkling delayed modular chirps into a driven, clicking surge of ducking synths and staggered snaps, and the latter emerging halfway through from a meandering walk through a sunlit wood into the haze-streamed adjacent plain.

Flip over to the B side and the delayed karplus string plucks and subtly swaying 303 of 'Like Flies' are soon joined by a shuffled hi-hat and panned soaring sine waves, coalescing into a breathing swell of DX7 and guitar. 'The Split' takes this momentum and sets off with a growling portamento and filtered arpeggio before breaking down into a melodic redux of the opening pieces, accentuated with paddling percussives and a pulsing wall of sound working its way underneath. 'Close' finishes things off with a suitably meditative marriage of reverbed piano and flickering drum machines, instruments fading away one by one into a sea of rising rhodes and shimmering bytes. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: There's no-one in our (semi)biotic stratosphere that sounds like Apta. Unrelinquishing optimism permeates through countless arrays of New World synthesis. Clean lines and vivid colours decorate his sonic landscape; it's like playing your favourite retro video game whilst suspended in a dreamlike, AI-induced virtual reality that will become the norm in 2050...

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd 10" Info: Includes gatefold Print / booklet.

It's the end of a busy and stressful year for Sheffield / Liverpool electronic pioneers, Black Beacon Sound. Having released a 7" every month for the whole of 2017 (or thereabouts), with each one being released digitally, with extra content (and each one featuring a remix by an undeniably talented producer), they have decided to make all of these superb remixes available on a drool-inducingly beautiful double 12" emblazoned with their eye-catching and iconic logo and sleeve design. 

It's a beautiful package in itself, but focusing on that is obviously doing an injustice to the superb work put in by all the producers to create this mindblowing excercise in cohabitational production and community-minded collaboration. 

We kick things off with the glitched hip-hop aestetics and stoner haze of the Mad Wash rework of Zen The Sharpshooters' 'Every Lil' Bit', bringing the hot-boxed haze and relaxing the muscles before The Fire Beneath The Sea's 'Error Correction' sees a pitch-bent funked-out remix, grounded with insistent shuffled hi-hats and wah'd out guitars, before the legendary Galactic Funk Milita's festival vibe is chopped into a syncopated latin stomp for a rubberlips rework. 

On the flipside, David J Boswell's haunting electro-folk goes full dubstep in the more than capable hands of the forward-facing electronic euphorics of Liverpool electronic virtuoso, Afternaut before Denham Audio bring forth a clattering industrial fractalisation of Hang Syem's 'Frontier J'. 

The following track is possibly my favourite on the compilation (but with enough material on here to keep even the most diverse of tastes more than happy, I expect yours will be different), and comes from Sheffield wunderkind, Yak. Snappy percussion and perfectly measured electronic stabs bring a disphoric syncopation to the already excellent 'Wicked Sound' by Grievous Angel. 

Onto the final side now, (the last being blank for you to admire the gorgous sky-blue marbling) and R. Lyle takes Apta's 'Tides' and breaks it down into a simmering futuristic haze of reversed reverbs and hazy throbs, before the arshaw remix of my personal favourite release of the lot, in Bemp's 'Minotaur', culminating in a psychedelic propulsive stomper, courtesy of the aforementioned Yak and YAKONA. A match made in heaven. 


STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Black Beacon have culminated their journey in a fittingly epic and ridiculously efficacious summary of their dedication to the independent music industry with this stunning double LP. A journey in every sense of the word, and a superb flipside to their already mindblowing releases.

Bit of a different format this time for BBS, with their latest outing coming on a FULL 12" of pleasure. The Persons Of Technologically Unidentified Status (POTUS) smash it with a sextuplet of throbbing techno, airy house and all-round danceable vibes.

'Ghetto Trump' mixes up a throbbing percussive backline with a repeated sliding sine wave, growing into the introduction of robotic snippets and ever-increasing percussive intensity. It's the classic house drum loops that really place this in the realms of classic Detroit fare, but remains brilliantly satisfying throughout. 

'Trump Dat' brings the acid with a snarling 303 and thudding kick taking the lead before introducing rapidly chopped vox from the man himself, a-la cassetteboy's infamous political mash-ups. It's a dancefloor number if ever there was one, with the BPM never dipping below a respectable 130. 

As we flip over, we get the slightly more spacey (but reassuringly driven) 'American Carnage', with crushed rhythmic single-note synth excursions growing with a grain-delayed percussive line backing it up with ever-expanding force before phasing into a militant, acidic outro. Then it's on to the foery closing duo of 'Feel My Trumpin' Bass' and 'Trump That Body', with the former's cinematic scope and kaleidoscopic intensity being nicely mellowed with the game OST vibes of the latter. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: A bitingly conceived selection, full of stunning dancefloor moments and impeccably constructed rhythmic fire. Get it while it's still here folks!

The Fire Beneath The Sea

BBS008EP

It's always a great day when Black Beacon Sound bring us some new records for sale, and we have a few belters this time. 'BBS008EP' comes courtesy of The Fire Beneath the sea, smashing out a heady mix of hip-hop, horn-led ska and funk. 'Hips Go Wild' kicks off with a calypso rhythm, before being quickly joined by a frantic bass lick and snappy horns, before the frantic vocal flourishes expertly ride over the top of the rapidly eclectic instrumental. It's a journey lurching from skittering vocal hip hop into a half-speed solemn redux of the original riff before coming back once again, bursting with every bit of the original energy. 

Flipside, 'I Am' showcases the brilliantly effervescent vocal athletics this talented bunch are capable of. Snappy vox, brilliantly clever lyrics and funked up to the max. There's some hugely talented turntablism going down in the breakdowns too, this one just keeps moving until the end, making it feel much more epic than it's short four minute length. A killer duo, and antoher winner for BBS. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: It's hard not to move your hips when this one gets going, reminiscent of old-school hip-hop, with snappy ska horns and body-shaking rolling basslines. They are many in number this bunch, but all of the skill going on makes it seem unbelievable there could be any less than 100 people at the helm (there is less than 100). Either way, it's ace.

A duo of funky strutting numbers from the Galactic Funk Milita via Sheffield's Black Beacon Sound. On the first part of the Dance Floor Grinder duology, the strutting snappy percussion and super smooth vocal delivery (both rhythmic and melodic) roll around the funked-out rhythmic backline, before peaking in a cacophony of frantic horns and perfectly executed drum licks. 

The second side bring a rubberlips remix, breaking down into more of an instrumental redux, with phasing and instrumental solos taking centre stage, backed by the vox rather than led by them. The wig-out peak hits after a few blissful minutes, breaking down into it's component parts before juddering and fading away. A fantastic remix, taking the component parts and inverting them into a fresh take whilst still retaining the heat of the original. 


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