“Red Square” by Loci
The collaboration between Chicago denizens Hakim Murphy and Ike Release continues with Wet Analog, the second missive on the latter’s Episodes imprint. Immediately following the duo’s Innerspace Halflife 12″ on M>O>S, Murphy sounds more confident flying his freak flag on these four idiosyncratic solo outings. On “Technis,” Murphy reveals a pared-down arsenal of cobbled-together gear, playing jacking, gritty house against a chaotic underbelly that exploits analog’s capacity for guttural dirt — check out the subliminal frequencies wiggling under the beat, sounding strangely like balloons rubbing together. The celestial keys arcing over “Technis” are a welcome distraction from the combustion below, giving the track some needed lightness, a concession to beauty that resurfaces on “Analog Stroll.”
Formless, beefed-up mids are very appealing to Murphy’s sense of sound design here: bass lines don’t ground these cuts as much as they bulge and displace the surrounding fabric. The playfully titled and executed “BBQ Knobs” puts a finer point on the matter, sending up streams of bubbles as a choppy beat plunges in and out of a backyard kiddie pool: these are wet adventures close to home, far from the deep-sea mythos of Drexciya, but Murphy goes deep in his exploration of familiar textures. By the time the EP peters out with the innocuous puttering of “Tunnel Dark,” it’s already made its point: as cliche as it seems, Murphy sounds freed by the constraints of analog equipment and a vinyl-only, limited-run release to lead with his instincts.