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  • Cat.No.: US009
  • Title: Now 02
  • Artist: Onethema, Quench, Rod, Scanner
  • Type: 12" (lim.500)

Now 02

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The second offering in Underscan's compilation series titled "NOW" presents works of SCANNER, ONETHEMA, QUENCH and ROD. Available soon as a limited pressing of 500 records to showcase what Underscan is all about.

SCANNER starts of with "INTERREUM", a slowly building track originally composed for a movie and installation about trains that was premiered in Leipzig by end of 2004 called "Soundtrain". By using string samples and industrial beats the track evolves to a fast paced train ride that originally coincided with images of related visual footage responding to the music.

ONETHEMA's "MONOCARPIC" sets the pace back for some future instrumental HipHop explorations. As XLR8R once put it: "Another music revolution is being ushered in by producers like 20-year-old London resident Simon Petre (Onethema)". A totally stunning composition giving an insight in what future music can sound today.

QUENCH aka the Funken Brothers from the Netherlands (also known as the producers of Shadowhuntaz or Funckarma) head back to classical Electronica/IDM structures with "SLICK" where splattered beatz meet up with gorgeous melodies to form a unique listening pleasure.

ROD finishes this second installement of the series with the track "SANTAS FACTORY". Industrial beats evoke a dramatic, melancholy feel that one would not have expected from Rod who is known for his beautiful melodic compositions from the "All My Love" EP released earlier this year. This time he heads straight to head nodding repetitive beat explorations and focuses on heavy drums and bass instead of sparkling melodies.

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This time around Underscan present another quartet of top-notch electronic artists for your listening pleasure. Best served chilling with some cool drinks in a nice place to sit in, with the sundown warming your feet and friends warming your heart. 12”-compilation series have a hard time, I know, because of the “small” format and the even smaller listenership. But with names like Scanner and Rod next to Quinch and Onethema, it should be possible – and deserved – to reach for a little more audience.
The second part of the ongoing series by the extraordinary German electronica-label underscan once again lives up to its self-proclaimed title. I guess, I talked about this title quite some in the review for part one. In the meantime someone mentioned to me that the problem with the title “now” is, that some people are looking for the future or at least for hints of the future and a progressive (in the non genre-defining musical sense) label that has “now” as its moniker is actually not state of the art anymore. As usual, when confronted with such sophisticated, hm, sophisms, I don’t know what to say. But they stick in my head, because I just know that there I something wrong with them and after a few days of pondering I realized: it depends on what your definition of now is. If you already live further up ahead of your contemporaries (haha, what a nice paradoxical sentence) your very own now is everybody else’s future. So there. If you give me some time, I can do those intellectualisms as good as anybody.
“Now 02” starts off with electronica-oldtime Scanner, who matches a droning cello up against some screeching drum-rhythm and manages to boost up a lot of dynamic tension and flowing dynamics through all the monotony and basic platforms. Towards the end of the track heat rises up and if you are already immersed in the track by then you’re gonna love its anticlimax and the soft little cuddly afterplay it offers. I wonder how Scanner does it to produce a good track out of obviously common ingredients. Maybe it is a case of “he got me on the right foot there” or a case of “some just have it while others don’t.”
A compilation like that doesn’t leave you a lot of time to think about such things, because the next artist is always right around the corner, and this being a twelve inch you should start thinking about what to put on next in your living room as soon as possible. Onethema and his “monocarpic”, inspite of the title  - which would have better fit to Scanner, but who cares – is actually an interesting piece of being able to put various noises, like little screeches, squeaks, cranks and whatnot, into a pulsing rhythm that over the course of a few minutes, manages to take you. But if someone would enter the room, who you know from that he isn’t any into music that challenges people, you’d suddenly wonder what you are listening there. So, is it merely a intellectual pleasure for postmodern solipsists? Not at all.
Another track whose title doesn’t fit the music (but once again: who cares) is “Slick” by Quench. I never heard of this artist but his mix of stumbling easy breakbeats mixed with laidback, placid atmospheres in the back and some echo-effects here and there makes me dot a little notice in the back of my head for that name. “Slick” is an superficially easy piece, but offers a lot of interesting micro-effects if you look a little closer, like some noise-parts or a miniscule changing of beats over time that actually goes without notice but makes the whole thing a lot more lively and interesting than most other stuff you get to hear in those hip clubs in town. Which makes me think of the fact that it is already June and I didn’t have one of those monster Tom-Collins they serve in that one bar in town yet. Maybe I’ll settle for a Gin and Tonic somewhere. No, the music is not that slick, not at all.
The final track on this 12”-compilation is by Rod, who has played himself into my favourite list with his EP “all my love”, but whose track on here is mediocre in comparison. Which means it is still really good in comparison to everything else around. He takes his time to start the track, with a little sinus-wave-drone and subtle bass-sound, but kicks in with a high-pitched straight break-beat (if that is possible) after half a minute or so. Once again, bass is important, but not the warm organic kind of “All my love” or the brutal, inhuman 4/4-bass of your typical techno (as if that would have been found on here), but rather a minimalized metallic slapped funk-bass that and an almost basic metal (as in the industrial sense) drone-bass. Is that an old-timer EBM-influence I hear in those harsh beats? “Santa’s factory” is obviously not so much a nice place to be an elve in, because the working-staccato at times is merciless, though of course, manufacturing needs a change of rhythem every now and then.

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On avait loupé le premier volume, voici la seconde compilation Now d'une série de quatre 12" à sortir chez Underscan, qui se retrouveront à leur tour compilés sur CD une fois tous les vinyles sortis. On y retrouve la plupart des artistes ayant déjà sorti un disque sur le label allemand puisque Scanner, Onethema et Rod ont déjà publié quelques pièces sur cette jeune et intéressante structure.
C'est Scanner qui ouvre les festivités mais ne nous donne guère envie de faire la fête. Ses cordes mélancoliques, son violoncelle qui plombe l'atmosphère, puis sa rythmique crunchy, grésillante, de plus en plus dense, ébauchent une lente et habile montée de tension, entre électronique et acoustique. On découvre ensuite Onethema avec un Monocarpic assez complexe, presque uniquement rythmique, et fourmillant de micro-éléments qui contribuent à cette richesse rythmique tout en lui conférant une abstraction déconcertante. Avec Quench, on revient en terrain connu. Ce side project des frères Funken (plus connus en temps que Funckarma) notamment publié chez U-Cover, nous permet de retrouver tous les éléments de l'electronica : rythmiques joliment alambiquées, mélodies fines et immédiates, bref, rien de nouveau à l'horizon, mais on ne boudera pas notre plaisir à écouter ce genre de morceau. Pour finir, on retrouve l'Irlandais Rod dont on parlait il y a quelques mois a propos de son EP All My Love déjà publié chez Underscan. Ronronnement de machines, bruits de tôle au loin pour une ambiance plutôt industrielle avec une belle rythmique contrastée autour de laquelle louvoient quelques nappes joliment travaillées.
Toujours un peu frustrant avec un seul titre par artiste, d'autant plus que le genre musical abordé ici demande un certain temps d'adaptation afin de s'immerger complètement. Pour autant, si l'on s'en tient à la musique, il n'y a pas grand chose à y redire : qualité et découverte sont au rendez-vous, et seule l'originalité aurait pu être développée un peu plus...

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The second edition in Underscan's compilation series, again with a 4-track 12" record. When all four EP's are released, a cd with all tracks will follow. "NOW 02" starts excellent with a track by Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, whom also released the EP "Lost without light" on Underscan. His contribution 'Interreum' starts with a melancholic string sound, soon overtaken by beats which gain in intensity and pace, like a train riding faster and faster. The combination of classical music and technoid elements gives it an original, cinematic atmosphere.
Things slow down with Onethema, with a more abstract, futuristic creation with dark hiphop elements. More appealing to my taste is 'Slick' by Quench, a sideproject of Funckarma, who combine the usual intricate IDM rhtyhmic patterns with lovely ambient melodies. The last track comes from Rod, who also had an EP on Underscan before. He created a bit of a monotonous d&b piece, with an ominous big city feeling. A nice record, of which I specifically like the tracks by Scanner and Quench.

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Ho perso il conto delle volte, consecutive, in cui ho ascoltato il secondo capitolo della serie di uscite della Underscan denominata ‘NOW’. Il che è già sintomatico di come il mio “gusto sonoro” sia stato pienamente appagato dalla fruizione dei quattro brani, che danno vita a questa raccolta di breve durata, ma di elevatissima qualità. In apertura troviamo il padrone di casa, ovvero Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner), che si cimenta in una traccia (composta per un film/installazione sui treni) di evoluzione industriale a metà strada tra corrosioni ritmiche spezzate e ambientazioni noir arricchite da campionamenti di archi: eccelsa. Onethema opta per un sound che identificherei come hip glitch hop in divenire, nel senso che potrebbe anche portare a qualcosa di “nuovo” e di molto interessante. Con Quench si esplorano i territori dell’elettronica più cerebrale, seppur accompagnata da infiltrazioni di linee melodiche, senza diventare inutilmente contorta o auto-referenziale e mantenendo comunque un alto profilo di “leggibilità”. La chiusura è affidata Rod, che si muove in scenari di oscurità urbana e decadenza soffusa, con un accento particolare posto sull’interazione tra battuta appesantita e linee di basso profonde. Ottimo disco.

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SCANNER's Track "Interreum", ursprünglich konzipiert für einen Film bzw. eine Installation namens "Soundtrain", kommt düster - krachig mit harschen Industrial-Beats und Streicher-Elementen daher. Beginnt recht harmlos, steigert sich dann aber zu einem alles verschlingenden Monster. Mein persönlicher Favorit.
ONETHEMA präsentiert mit "Monocapric" frickelig - futuristischen Instrumental-Hip Hop mit atomisierten mikroskopischen Samples. QUENCH, die Producer von Shadow Huntaz und Funckarma, bevorzugen dagegen klassiche Electronica / IDM - Strukturen. Fette Breaks und anheimelnde Melodien sorgen für entspannte Unterhaltung.
ROD's Abschlusstrack "Santas Factory" tendiert auch wieder mehr in Richtung Industrial. Lag das Hauptaugenmerk auf seiner unlängst erschienenen EP "All My Love" auf den Melodien, so widmet er sich hier mehr den schweren Drums und Bässen und beschwört eine eher unheilvolle Atmosphäre herauf. Runde Sache das.

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Die zweite EP von underscan macht mit Scanner, Onethema, Quench und Rod erneut deutlich, worum es dem Label geht. Hier heisst das: sehr beatbetonte hiphop-hypnotische Dramatisierungen von elektronischen Klängen. Spannend!

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Naysayers continually muse on the demise of electronic music in general and IDM in particular but, by regularly issuing fabulous tracks, labels like Germany's Underscan handily silence such doomsayers. The label continues its Now series of four 12-inch EPs with the second and third installments, 20-minute discs that extend the stylistic range far beyond strict IDM.
Now 02 includes contributions from Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), Onethema (Simon Petre), Quench (The Funcken brothers), and Rod (Rod Morris). Originally composed for a movie and installation about trains (“Soundtrain”), Scanner's “Interreum” sculpts menacing ambiance. The piece opens with interweaves of string tones that are all but swallowed by an escalating, relentlessly churning pulse that consumes everything in its path. Onethema eschews samples for whirring machine noise in his squiggly smattering of futuristic hip-hop business “Monocarpic” while the Funckens merge magnificently punchy beat splatter with chiming melodies in “Slick.” Somewhat surprisingly, Rod's “Santa's Factory” trades the sublime melodicism of his All My Love EP for a slamming exercise in metallic beat squelch.

listen to tracks:

Monocarpic buy
Santa's Factory buy
Interreum buy