Chicago Flotation Device: Higher (Lobster Theremin)
Despite their name, Chicago Flotation Device are a three-piece hailing from London. “Higher” lives up to its title, a slow and steady climb from a utilitarian intro to a massive swell of looping noise, acid, and punchy drums.
At about the 3:30 mark, it expands into what I’d consider a full-on tribute to Hardfloor, cyclical and driving with a little extra bit of distortion and delay in its repetitive acid patterns. Like a lot of the 90s techno and early trance (you know, before it was a dirty word) that I loved and still love, the layers of “Higher” don’t always totally make sense, nor do they need to; the chiming tones that provide a sort of bridge overhead don’t seem to really tonally mesh with the patterns underneath, but it doesn’t matter — its timbral contrast is more than enough to make it feel at home. It trucks along for a good ten minutes plus, but it’s not even close to overstaying its welcome. Indeed, I could listen to it for ten more, and often times I start it over to do just that!
On the flip, “Untitled 9” has more of a vintage Detroit flavor to it in its retro-futurist pads and acid squiggles. Again, it’s that distorted 303 pattern that makes Hardfloor comparisons irresistible, but I’d like to think that it’s both a welcome comparison and a noteworthy influence. The swelling pads lend it a much more blissed out vibe, a chilly night drive — it might be an obscure reference, but I’m reminded of the best chilled out moments of Zen Paradox’s Eternal Brainwave (a lost classic, in my humble opinion). Good stuff with some devotion to 90s influences, treated with such reverence and deft hands that it’s hard not to like both cuts.