Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Support the entertainment you love by purchasing a new, original edition

Aleksi Perälä - Lagrange Point

I bloody love Rephlex. In an age where most labels are obsessed with the digital download market, flashy websites that break your computer and using increasingly fancy packaging to attract buyers and maintain sales, Rephlex don’t appear to give a flying fuck about any of it.* Have you seen their website? It’s a thoroughly basic one-page effort, with a list of upcoming releases and details of their distributors and THAT’S IT!!?! One poxy page. As for packaging, well, I bought the new Aleksi Perälä CD the other week and it came in a bog standard jewel case with a single insert for the cover (not even a four-page booklet full of pointless photos) and artwork that an artistically talentless sod like myself could have knocked out on a compoota in about 11 seconds. You can’t even buy their releases as mp3’s on either - in fact, you can’t buy them from anywhere. Rephlex are still operating like it’s the early 1990s and the internet is some new-fangled contraption that won’t last five minutes, steadfastly refusing to change the way they run their operation.

You know what though? None of it matters one iota because they keep on banging out quality releases. They are a shining example to all other labels that it should be about content over style and not the other way around. It’s all about the music. It obviously helps that they have the IDM Lord Richard of Aphex as a figurehead to attract the best talent, a shrewd businessman with his hands on the reigns and an unrivalled ear in Grant Wilson-Claridge, and a back catalogue that rivals Warp’s in terms of representation of the electronic music canon, past and present. But Rephlex still know that you are only as good as your last release, and they are consistently brilliant.

I’m posting a track from the Aleksi Perälä album, ‘Project V’, to illustrate the point about the quality music Rephlex keep releasing. Despite not breaking any boundaries, this is a stunning album, and Aleksi’s first under his own name after several releases under the pseudonym’s Ovuca and Astrobotnia. It’s his first album for five years, but is more than worth the wait. On ‘Project V’, Aleksi seems to touch on all genres of electronic music, but the album never lacks focus, as it all comes together under the expert guidance of this gifted producer. Opening track ‘Rocking Chair’ is a reflective Four Tet-esque slice of electronic folk with a plucked guitar and twinkling melodies and ‘Spacetime’ samples the electro classic ‘Al Naafiysh (The Soul)’, with a solid break and lush, warm chords. The album is packed with corking tracks including the short but ever so sweet ‘Muska’ with a synth line like a mewing cat set over pitch perfect Detroit techno; the epic, atmospheric ‘Purple Rain’, which moves from skittering electronics to mournful ambience over the course of 9 minutes; the propulsive, bouncy-bassed ‘Autumn Morning’; the drum heavy, funky ‘Feast’; and the twisted, loopy acid techno of ‘Dark Energy’. Closing track ‘Sunbath’ even gives the overused Amen break another run out, with all manner of spooky noises and a wobbly bassline reminiscent of Squarepusher at his nuttiest.

If I was forced to choose just one song to represent the album, I would go for the widescreen sci-fi techno of ‘Lagrange Point’. I love the bit half way through where the bass distorts and slays the speakers, briefly taking the song into twisted machine funk territory, before it closes with an eerie, end of the world chord sequence - brilliant.

So, let’s give the last word to the label itself – “Rephlex is an independent record label, focusing on creatively inspired music rather than profit driven product. If you like the music, please help to continue the service provided by purchasing official releases.” Do as the man says – you won’t regret it.

*(with the obvious exception of the Analord binder)

Buy Aleksi Perälä 'Project V' from Norman Records
The bulk of the Rephlex catalogue is also available to purchase from the lovely people at Norman Records
Spend 3 seconds of your day visiting the Rephlex website
Full Rephlex discography
Aleksi Perälä My Space
Aleksi Perälä website