Quinoline Yellow: Palisade Mount EP (Touchin’ Bass)
The last time I heard anything from Quinoline Yellow was probably in 2004 or so (at the latest). so I was surprised to see this EP pop up newly a few weeks ago. I associated QY with the post-Autechre IDM set, that deluge of skittery beats and minor chords and wistful melodies brought to us by the likes of Gimmik, Bauri, Phonem, Crunch, Proem, and more. It’s been a while since I’ve heard much stuff that sounds this authentic to that turn of the century wave of so-called IDM, so long that it feels nearly ripe for revival. But this music feels both fresh by virtue of the long gap as much as it feels tried and true, not nostalgic but rather somewhat of a different time. Opening track “Dinas Hide” has a nice buoyant 4/4 kick to go with its syncopated percussion and jaunty melodic lead, eventually allowing a squiggly 303 bassline to come through clearly. Something that stands out in the production across these tracks is the use of spacious reverb. Nothing is so drenched in effects that it becomes muddy, but that sense of spaciousness is yet another throwback to IDM circa 2000 for me. “Lags Domotags” is such a case, with big reverb on its thudding percussion stabs and pretty melodies, all moving in tandem around a jerky mid-tempo broken beat. That same flowery sense of melody can be found on “Argon of August,” with its more delicate drum tracks tip-tapping away amidst the layered melodic phrases and squiggly bass. It’s not all easy-going, though; “The Recital of Dolwen Fields” is frantic in its double-time drums, never quite going fully spastic like vintage Squarepusher et. al, but upping the energy level significantly nonetheless. The vintage sounds of “T6 AX” harken back to the earliest AFX tracks, with that squelchy crunch of a snare and 303 portamento synth sounds, but perhaps the standout is “Congregation.” The fourth track on the EP is almost joyous with its bubbly melody and crisp rhythm details, reminding me of Plaid at their finest and most playful. Fans of that turn of the century wave of melodic electronic music will find a lot to love here; these six tracks, each infused with a keen sense of melody, spatial depth, and detailed syncopation, deliver the goods.