Good things by good people, part 2: Ekoplekz


Ekoplekz is Nick from Gutterbreakz blog, and this limited-run, paint spattered CD-R (designed by Woofah contributor 2nd Fade) was the best thing to land in my mailbox this spring.  Regretfully, when it arrived, I was in the final weeks of my first term of teaching and I simply didn’t have time to give it the review it deserved.

A bit of background: Nick has a history of supporting bedroom producers with a bit of skill and a lot of imagination.  His reviews at Gutterbreakz helped launch more than a few dubstep careers.  After that, he set up the short-lived Bleepfiend netlabel with the aim of digging up and releasing long-forgotten, pre-PC electronic music – home studio material from the era of 4-tracks, MIDI cables, little LCDs, and running out of memory.  Most recently, though, he’s turned his attention to his own music, apparently spurred by his acquisition of a peculiar old box called the ‘P15 Ekosynth 15’ (so rare it’s not even listed at VSE).  Over the years I’ve heard a number of decent tracks by Nick – mostly in dubstep and techno territory – but with Ekoplekz, he’s really begun to carve out his own musical world.

Word of the project first trickled out in late-January, via a self-deprecating email that warned: ‘if you don’t like sallow-faced, impoverished, unglamorous, lo-fi electronic music of a distinctly late-70s post punk variety then this probably isn’t for you.’ Within two months, not only had the music been committed to CD, it was getting airplay on Resonance FM and picking up a string of very complimentary reviews and mentions from folks like Woebot, Simon Reynolds, John Eden, Kidshirt and Prince Asbo.  I’ll leave the descriptions to them because, frankly, they’re more attuned to the important reference points than I am…

Uncarved: ‘”Hole in my sound” catches Cabaret Voltaire at their eeriest. “Rebus Neu”is like Throbbing Gristle doing background music for Dr Who circa Tom Baker…   [But] that this is no mere pastiche of the bands he loves, it has an identity all of its own and must be the product of many hours of tinkering away with the kit. If Nick is unlucky he’ll be lumped in with the Hauntologists – he deserves better than that.’

Kidshirt: ‘it’s like some Radio Repair-Shop version of Steve Reich.’

‘Confidently tentative,’ you could say about the album as a whole. It’s a potential recipe for noodly disaster, but instead we get 29 brief, purposeful (and I’d say joyful) electrostatic dub experiments at the edges of lo-fi industrial-funk.  It may harbour a deep affection for Cabaret Voltaire et al. but it also manages to sound more immediate, more mutant, more lovingly crafted than so much irony-couched or DAW-glossed music at the moment.

* * *

» Visit Ekoplekz Bulletin Board for info | Visit Ekoshop for CDs and downloads

* * *

Doctrine Sessions by Ekoplekz

And this just in via email:

Volume 2 is already in preparation, and will hopefully be ready in September, marked by a special ‘semi-live’ performance on Resonance FM.  More details on that nearer the time.

In the meantime, there is an interim mini album available to download free on Soundcloud, featuring half-a-dozen tracks I recorded back in March, mainly experiments with the P15 Ekosynth which I bought just after finishing the Volume 1 sessions.  These tracks appeared on a very limited cassette called “Doctrine 789305” which I only gave to a handful of close friends, but other than that I have no further plans to use them, so I thought I might as well share them with anyone who might be interested.

Comments are closed.