For those bitter singles on Valentine’s Day, there was enough great music released over the weekend without lyrics like “baby you’re the one,” “all that I want is you,” or “that salmon you’re cookin’ really gets me in the mood,” that you could’ve spent all day completely forgetting your fear of commitment.
One of the better releases was Transmute, a new EP by Australian sound designer, Whitebear. His four new midtempo slowburners continue his rapidly expanding exploration of future-tribal-psychedelia, and the two versions of
Depth Charge stand out in particular.
The original mix emerges out of reverb-drenched caverns at the pace of a funeral march and into a subterranean aqua-dub jam, complete with watery squelches, wobbles croaked from the lungs of Hypnotoad, a snare that sounds like it’s perpetually swatting the world’s biggest housefly, and a jazzy Rhodes piano solo near the end to remind us that this was made by a human and not some ancient reptilian cavern spirit.
Auma, on the other hand, prefers to process his remix like a cyborg. The first obvious change is a raised tempo and much more Aphex Twin-inspired shuffling rhythms. After the intro, he starts throwing in bleeps, bloops, and IDM textures, then chops them up with dark matter-powered scissors and sends them ripping out of the speakers in four dimensions. Just when everything starts to reach the end of its future-factory assembly line, the track breaks into a reggae groove that swings its organ on the off-beat, uses delay to wake Lee Scratch Perry from the dead and transforms this spazzathon into a relentless head bopper.
Auma and Whitebear are just two of the many IDM producers in Australia that are treating sound design with a technical prowess that would make Steve Vai blush, and if you dig this album, then keep your eyes focused on their resident labels, Shanti Planti and Enig’matik.