THRUSTERS (RAMP057)

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Nochexxx makes music that’s real like UFOs are real.

Some producers use textural palettes to summon up an imaginary 80’s / 90’s soundworld – a comforting stoner flashback to teenage VHS parties or NES audio-design – but Nochexxx nixes that approach, instead bringing sounds into play that shouldn’t even co-exist in the same continuum. Rather than haunto re-enactments of childhood club tunes or half-remembered radio-hits his work moves sideways through space n time to create impossible future-pasts – repressed precog memories of moments that never really happened. Cryptozoic beats and past-life bass-lines. Music from some parallel shadowzone. 

On “Exholst”, tones rotate and orbit one another in a series of frantic overlapping patterns that are reminiscent of winking lights. Rotating disks of sound seem to hang in the air like flying saucers – hovering impossibly overhead for a few seconds, only to dart off and reconfigure in new permutations. You find yourself listening in disbelief, mesmerised by the sound of something that, theoretically, should not exist – an audio-object that breaks all the rules of What Should and Shouldn’t Be – yet here it is, defying you to deny its existence. The kicks and snares sound vaguely familiar, come from a recognisable Roland lineage, yet you are left doubting your senses. How can this possibly be? you ask yourself. Is this…real? What place has this come from?            

“Skunk Marks” is a ziggurat built from Mayan-sounding arpeggiations and broken acid-lines, a pyramid underpinned by an Escher staircase of a bass-line which doggedly climbs upwards into the sky, but never quite reaches the mothership. “Aquaverse” is sheer post-Drexciyan biznis – salvaged Atlantean technology hovering somewhere over the Bermuda Triangle, broadcasting Close Encounters tone-motifs and bubbling synth-lines down into the depths. “Vapour Cruz” is spacious and infectiously sinister: slinky, elastic-limbed acid-funk that seems to stalk the listener, a low-down skulker of a track. Tyree abducted by the Shadow People.

“Swat Erect” starts off fairly straightforward, but the sequences slowly shift off-grid and start to pull against one another – a queasy, barely perceptible slo-mo tug-of-war that turns the tune into a piece of faked UFO footage: an unstable, spinning plate of a track that wobbles in the air over a cardboard city on a half-visible piece of cotton thread. A subtle inner tension is created, as if opposing forces are trying to take control of the music by remote control – fly-by-wire Techno that finally lands on a cloud of compressed-air and coloured lights in a woodland clearing far from prying eyes.

“Rinse Dreams” unexpectedly switchbacks from a toilet-cleaner’s tale of scatological woe to a baffling ping-pong rhythm that attracts dark Acid squiggles, stoned-sounding claps, drunken strings and a naaasty descending bass. Someone says “sun” – or is it “funk”, or maybe even “sunk?” – backed by a choir of helium-voiced machine-elf Nebbishes trapped inside what sounds like a giant kaleidoscope. There’s no logical reason why this combination of sounds should work together so harmoniously, yet Nochexxx deftly – and playfully – pulls it off without it ever feeling forced.

It’s a testament to Nochexxx’s skills as a producer that structure and momentum are never swamped by a surfeit of ideas. He always leaves enough space in the mix for the listener’s own imagination to climb in the cockpit alongside him and explore. Rather than rebuilding the Past or succumbing to parody, pastiche or pointless post-modern exercise, Nochexxx’s music takes you out beyond the Trash Ionosphere into times that never happened, places that could never be.

Yet, somehow, they now do. His imagination has willed them into being. Has built a world that is Neither / Nor.

It’s like False Memory Syndrome or a special effect. We know it’s a trick, but we so want to believe – for there to be something other than what we thought we knew – that we willingly allow ourselves to be abducted by his music.

In Nochexxx’s hands, the ‘real’ becomes The Real. We allow ourselves to be hypnotised by the lights, to become entranced by the pulse. We want to be one of the Taken. And so he lures us out into the realm of the Speculative – the Ambiguous; the Authentically Inauthentic – that wonderfully implausible limbozone that sits diagonally off to one side of the fake futures where Acid House and early Detroit Techno once transported us.

And he makes it fun. He keeps it phat. And he never, ever, loses sight of the Funk.

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