Seattle's electronic musicians continue their prodigious production rate. Witness the towering stack of CD-Rs I accrued during Decibel Festival. Below, I assess three of the better releases that finagled their way into my overcrowded headspace.
Cyanwave (Justin Byrnes and Keith Kelley/Kynd) offer three tracks of deep, minimal techno that recalls some of the better specimens issuing from the Tresor label in the '90s. "Movement I – Body Scan" grinds and pumps with an insistent sexiness; it gives good head nod. "Movement II – Sensory" hovers and quivers in beatless space for a while before palpitating in calm 4/4 and conjuring frigid vistas à la early Biosphere. This sets the scene for the comparatively rousing "Movement III – Quoin," a cerebral, subtly kinetic percolator that shimmers like the Detroit skyline at night as seen from Canada. It's urgent in an understated, riveting way. If I were still DJing techno, I'd play this right when the warm-up phase transitions to the next plane of accelerated excitement. Cyanwave circulated this demo at Decibel, and it shows major promise. More info at www.lab-77.com/justin_byrnes.html.
Splatinum (previous Data Breaker subjects Andrew Luck and Dosadi operating under a new moniker) kick off their nine-track CD with "Robo Crunk Juice" (featuring Mochipet), which hints at the neon-hued, low-end high jinks to ensue. The duo busily apply warped frequencies to the highest and lowest sectors of the sound spectrum, while keeping things off-kilteredly funky and dramatically dynamic throughout. Their remix of Sleepy Eyes of Death's "Pierce the Air" appears here, all widescreen menace and skyscraper-chewing bass tones. Splatinum's music punches you squarely on the chin rather than inducing you to scratch it, and for that plus vaulting ambition, expect Splatinum to be playing a lot of big outdoor fests by next year. Their next gig happens Friday, November 6, at Contour. More info at www.splatinum.com.
The Sight Below's Murmur EP (available digitally and on limited 12-inch at www.ghostly.com/releases/murmur-ep) follows in the wintry, twilight-techno wake of last year's Glider full-length. The foggy, minimalist 4/4 throb of Gas meets Monolake's glacial textural glaze on "Murmur," the Sight Below's most overt dance number. "Wishing Me Asleep" glimmers and skips like the Field after downing a few melatonin tablets. Its tranquil pulsations, bulbous kick drums, and distant, Seefeel-like guitar spray dissolve your stress, resulting in an unbeatable beatitude. The rest of the EP consists of remixes by Biosphere, Eluvium, and Simon Scott, all kindred spirits who instill their ethereal spirits into the Sight Below's deep, meditative originals. They embellish a vast, enveloping mist of ambience that's simultaneously forbidding and consoling.