Marco Bernardi, Floating EP

[Happy Skull]

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Marco Bernardi’s been more prolific than ever lately, perhaps due to the Glaswegian-Italian’s links to the scene in Bristol where he’s been based for a while now, running clubs and working hard to make Bristol a city with a consistent techno presence. The producer, also known as Octogen, follows EPs for modern UK-house brands Hypercolour and Futureboogie with a disc for the rather more appropriate and low-key label Happy Skull, a venture of locally renowned DJs and enthusiasts of the underground the Kelly Twins. The housier style Bernardi’s been devoting himself to of late remains on this record, but there’s more of the darkness and raw texture that he embraces so naturally than on those recent releases, which pushes this into an unarguably high quality category. Though there are some strong contenders to the title, this could be the best acid house record of 2014 so far.

There’s nothing subtle in the way “Floating” rides into life; kick drums turn the ground to pulp, and a barely sentient, barely human voice forms the title in muffled, broken syllables. It’s then that the bass line arrives, scarcely more than a pulsing glitch in your speaker every eight beats. The head-spinning, jaw-grinding modulations are what make it, and the final result is a twisting, clenching trip akin to the work of Dave Huismans if dipped in acid. “Broken Boiler” is more classically jacking but utterly Detroit-infused — an ever-present Bernardi theme. This is firmly of the Cybotron school of techno, with wistful electro chords glistening like neon signs on a night ride. The hollow, juddering bass line has an almost woody timbre, and the lead synth is masterfully processed, carrying tremendous emotional weight in an effortlessly sparse form. In terms of electro-sonic mysticism and extraterrestrial fetishism, this beats Legowelt at his own game. That just leaves “Upside In” to play you to the end in a skin-crawling paranoid wander across a fogged, acid-blasted terrain, the atmosphere thick, oppressive and uncomfortable, in the best possible way, with the bass line distorting and blistering itself into a burnt up rhythmic release. Potential future classic, right here.

Cuto  on June 4, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Glasgow’s answer to Legowelt.
Everything he does is gold.

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