ADSR Recordings #001 and #002

Exciting inaugural releases from Vancouver’s ADSR
Album Review : “Exciting inaugural releases from Vancouver’s ADSR”

ADSR

From Vancouver, Canada’s electronic indie scene comes the first two releases from ADSR. ADSR Recordings, founded in 2014 have been busy putting on events, running a blog, making tunes and scouring record shops all over Vancity. This spring sees ADSR release tunes from a couple of downtempo artists with some Asian flavor.

ADSR 001 features a pair of tunes from South Korea’s Honbul. Initially a jazz guitarist, Honbul moved to LA to study and was highly influenced by the music scene there. He soon turned his craft to electronic music. Influence from such west coast heroes as Madlib, Flying Lotus and JDilla are littered through his beats. Let’s get to the tracks.

First up is “Asura break”. This is a dubby, spiritual, meditative tune. It has video game-esque samples throughout and a neat little breakdown. There are seemingly lots of influences throughout the track but it stands strong and is comfortable in its own sound. Two-thirds the way through the tune fades out only to come back with a little reprise to keep you in the drone zone for another couple minutes. Its a laid back divine head-bobber that I didn’t think too much of upon first listen but the relaxed bass and catchy hook kept me humming it days later.

On the virtual flip side is “Soul Shake”. This is another solid tune, with a more soulful laid-back instrumental hip hop vibe. Influences can be heard from artists like Dilla, Bonobo and Flying Lotus. That said, the tune is original and the tighter of the two, clocking in at around four minutes. It never feels tired or overlong. There’s loads of samples throughout from shakers to chimes, bells, clocks and a killer snare beat that keeps things rocking throughout.

The second of ADSR’s releases comes from Vancouver based Japanese ex-pat Tokiomi. His tunes fuse field recordings, original samples and downtempo beats. The first spacey lullaby he delivers on the release is “Night Time in Tofino.” This ambient bubbler of a tune fits the title quite well, as anyone who has visited Vancouver Island can attest. The track features delicate chilled beats with light synths throughout. Sounds of the wind rustling, a fire crackling and what appears to be wolves howling ruminate in the background. The tune quite literally transforms you to the scenic west coast of Vancouver Island. No doubt many of the sounds were captured on location. The track clocks in at 4 minutes 20 seconds which only adds to the west coast mystic this tune exudes. Not to be missed.

The second tune from Tokiomi is entitled “Coelacanth”. Upon further googling, I discovered that the Coelacanth is a rare, nearly extinct dinosaur-aged species of fish. In keeping with the naming tradition, this tune similarly fits the title quite well. With downtempo drum beats, sounds of water in the background and delicate key drops, it feels a bit like a dedication to an ancient aquatic traveller. Coming in at just under 5 minutes the time feels just right for a prehistoric trip under the seas of yesteryear.

In the world of electronic music, sounds can have a way of getting repetitive or stale with producers using similar plug-ins or sample packs. The two tracks from Tokiomi are exciting and fresh. Using a variety of field recordings in tunes and original samples, the possibilities to create new sounds are almost limitless.

Overall this virgin pair of releases from ADSR represent good things to come from the west coast label. Although there is no official release date as of this review be sure to check the ADSR website for more info. on these forthcoming releases. Of course, if you are curious to hear the tunes head on over to Honbul’s and Tokiomi’s soundcloud pages to take a listen.

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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