Thursday, 13 September 2018

Review - Xqui - Wyrmling EP

Xqui - Wyrmling EP


Out Now

Review by Bungo Jackson.

Being a record (then CD) buyer who always studied the credits on inner sleeves and booklets, looking for names and connections, I noted that Ash Cooke (formerly Pulco among other aliases) is credited with supporting this EP, as well as mastering “Dragon”, where the original tracks for remixing are found. But as the lack of background info is deliberate (refreshing?), and the idea is to let the often found sounds speak for themselves, let's approach Xqui's “Wyrmling” EP in that manner.

EP opener “Bun (Sheer Zed's Finger Roll RMX)” sets the tone with monolithic, “industrial” sounds, heavily reverbed, like a cavernous shipyard or distant motorway. 

“Spark Rekindled In Despair (Antriksh Bali Mix)” with its trip-hoppy opening, stuttery programming and sampled clave and conga, introduces the first melodic lines on the EP, in this case piano, but they're soon subverted and flipped to run backwards.

The dominant sound of the EP is a treated synth, burbling in and out (“Paid [Insert Words Here] (Alan Morse Davies Mix)” and “Re-paid (R P Sten Mix)”). Again, the lines are always fractured and elusive, never allowing themselves or the receptive ear to settle.

In the absence of conventional beats, repetition provides much of the rhythm in a number of the pieces. Perhaps the most successful is “Spark (Equinox Time-Slip Mix)”, its ticking clocks rhythm set against muffled speech, reverse melodic snatches, sawing and sudden bursts of jarring children's laughter before a rolling cymbal and crash signals time's up.
Xqui's “Wyrmling” EP would be at home on Late Junction or an early 21st Century John Peel show. Definitely late night, whether Radio 1 or 3. There are, to these ears, echoes of Aphex Twin, even DJ Shadow. Atmospheric, at times playful, amusing, always intriguing.


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