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ASC:
Space Echo (Samurai Red Seal)

ASC’s
latest EP is named perfectly. It has all of the spaciousness and
airlessness of outer space, feeling simultaneously expansive and
claustrophobic. The title track especially bridges ASC’s often
separate worlds of spacious ambience and frenzied beatmaking, never
quite diving headlong into the drum & bass material that has
often characterized his more rhythmic output, but instead a healthy
hybrid of techno, dub, ambient, and footwork. Throughout its four
tracks, Space Echo works the fast-slow thing for all it’s worth,
usually anchoring tracks with a slow, steady throb (usually in an
accented kick) but then filling in each of those bars with
double-time skittering hihats and details.

Space Echo EP by ASC

“Reveal” has all of
the twinkle of far off satellites with a real sense of urgency that
something might be going terribly wrong. It’s hard not to bring my
own science fiction tropes and imagery to the listening experience,
like we’re slowly watching a Kubrickian spacecraft emerging from
shadows into light. The exploration of weaving beats in and out of
each other with so many layers and nuances reminds me of the highly
technical work of Akkord, as one example. The first track “Ignite”
sets the tone well with its fidgety acid patterns and rapidfire,
staggered kicks, but Space Echo is perhaps best enjoyed as a suite
from start to finish. While its tracks aren’t so intricately woven
together, it does feel like a very consistent and cohesive statement.
It has a similar sci-fi tint as his effective Imagine the Future
album last year, but tighter, more succinct, without all of the
beatless fog and sprawl. Highly recommended, one of ASC’s best so far
to these ears.

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