Under Review

Various Artists

ADSR Vol. 1 Compilation

ADSR; 27/05/2016

“Ten tracks from friends around the globe” notes ADSR, the new, Canadian, electronic label to describe its first official release, ADSR Vol. 1. — just one sentence confident in its significance. Through multiple events, extensive blogging, and recently the launch of the ADSR label, Sean Mallion and the rest of the ADSR team have been passionately and steadily mapping the realms of underground electronic music for quite long — so long that they know when the words must cease and the music should start.

It is already sunrise in the land of the Korean producer Honbul. In “Asura Break,” spirits sing away the night. Their loose ribbons dance in the air producing modern trip-hop waves which crush upon the ancient percussions of Buddhist monks. In “Shake,” elements of glitch, chill beats and downtempo, temperamental drums and earthly voices chase each other in a joyful game of life. Honbul is a good example of how to master electronica’s chi.

This set atmosphere follows the Japanese producer Tokiomi Tsuta with “Coelacanth and “Night time in Tofino,” songs that leave the impression of being natural even though they are synthetic. ‘’Coelacanth’’ is water-based — pay attention and the water will caress your feet, succulent drops of late-night jazz piano and sparkles of Spanish guitars will slowly run down your spine. “Night time in Tofino” is fire-based and more vivid — pay attention and you will feel the warmth of the crackling campfire, the crispy forest leaves caught in your hair and the breeze passing through the pathways of your face.

After an exemplary showcase of balancing music’s yin and yang, comes the Indian producer Shresh Singh a.k.a. Lumiere, and together with him a whole other world — though this is an understatement. When it comes to ‘’Last Of Us’’ there is no world left at all. Maybe just one — the last standing underground club in Berlin where this song echoes like an EBM swan song. It seems that the only thing which protects Lumiere from getting trapped within his own abyss is the alert, constant ringing of the percussion. In “So Real” he comes back to his senses — growing pad lines, intense bouncy percussion, precise allocation of beats: pure techno architecture.

And then ’’Love / Yeah / You better believe it / Love / Love / Love’’ the intro vocals in ‘’Never Do’’ by the Korean producer Park Jun Hwi a.k.a. Lower. Steady, groovy kick-drum and layers of euphoric, dizzy strings build gradually a beat of summertime chill-out and wonder. ‘’Nowhere’’ moves in the same direction completing a 360° shift in the compilation’s style progression: from techno to total relaxation, an acute transition of a moody but not boring compilation.

Last but not least is the Canadian producer Dominik St-Denis a.k.a. Domtron. Spacey, large, elastic synths, capable of reaching the nearest galaxies, are present in both “Longwave” and “Sierra.” But the high-voltage chords and fleeting leads found in the latter are what makes it hard to forget. Trivia: Domtron doesn’t use laptops to create his music — instead, he prefers hardware samplers and sequencers. The results are impressive.

Each one of us is a whole universe of their own. ADSR Vol.1 is a brilliant selection of worlds within a world. It reflects the love of those who work to make it happen. It is an honest effort to bring forth the hidden gems of the international electronic scene. But in my world, what would make it perfect is this: Melentini, the exquisite versatile artist whose ingenious music and unparalleled voice carries, like an old-soul, all of our beauty, our pain and our hopes throughout times; and Sworr., the new band on the electro, trip-hop block, that generates sui-generis sounds and vocals from the young and charismatic frontman, Robin Kapsas, leaving you in awe. Maybe in ADSR Vol.2 — you never know.