The Echoes Abound
Ekoplekz is here to prove that “k” and “z” are still the edgiest letters in the alphabet with Unfidelity, the artist’s first album from his new home on Planet Mu records. This label has at times been host to big names like Luke Vibert and Venetian Snares, but these days it seems to be more of a home for lost children, with Mike Paradinas playing Professor Xavier to a small army of up-and-coming electronic artists like Nick Edwards, aka– Ekoplekz.
Unfidelity and Ekoplekz, unfortunate naming conventions aside, can be very interesting to listen to. This album is varied, if nothing else; it is at different times churning out club jams or introspective ambient pieces. “Coalpit Health,” for example, plays on the latter themes of misty, amorphous soundscapes. The sound of falling rain runs through the background of the entire six-minute cut, punctuated by heavier droplets and a kind of warped, echoing mesh of white noise and melody. This strange meditation is followed immediately by “Pressure Level,” a frenzied dance track that comes off like intentional sensory overload. Here you can feel all the tension and paranoia of a drug-addled after hours rave from the comfort of your own headphones.
Most of the time, Unfidelity explores the grey area between its two extremes. Opening track “Trace Elements” is something like a subdued version of early Daft Punk, and the brief “Robert Rental” calls up a reminiscence of Bowie’s early instrumental work with Brian Eno. All told, the album is consistently weird, which is perhaps its only consistency. Some tracks are more on the rhythmic side, while others are more melodic. Several of the album’s 11 cuts eschew both rhythm and melody for a certain satisfying flavor of noise, with a bit of the “underwater” feeling one gets from Boards of Canada.
A confusing, but generally satisfying record, Unfidelity is worth a listen. It plods along slowly at times, but the patient will be rewarded with “Tuning Out,” the album’s penultimate track and arguably its finest moment. It is a slow build of rhythm and warm revolutions of noise that shows Ekoplekz at his best. This record may not be a home run, but neither is it one to be written off.