Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mohlao – Ambrose

A recent string of impressive 12-inch offerings from the likes of Bovill, Murmur, Bvdub and, most notably, Quantec, have furnished London-based imprint Meanwhile with an enviable reputation for top notch dub house and techno. This—their 15th release—sees that trajectory not just maintained but extended; impressive stuff considering the culprit, Mohlao, is all but unknown.

"Ambrose" is a sombre piece of pitched down dub techno infused with a heavy dosage of ambient electronica (Delsin's 154 springs to mind) and just a smidgeon of laid-back house. Underpinned by a bright, thumping kick which very nearly overwhelms the more fragile elements around it, the track successfully steers clear of the kind of swampy post-BC aesthetics so abundant right now, coasting along at a moderate 120 BPMs, all sullen pads, washed-out synths and distant static. It's a resolutely downbeat affair, laced with a kind of hazy melancholy and suitable only for the mellowest of dancefloors, if any.

Those itching to pull shapes needn't worry, though: B-side "Individual," a shatteringly bleak, IDM-inflected electro lullaby, successfully marries the frosty ambience of Autechre-era UK techno with the bittersweet melodic palette of Gerard Hanson's E.R.P. output, and in rollicking fashion. Propelled by a bouncy, UR-friendly electrobreak, it's an exhilarating exercise in sustained emotion, steadily building over the course of its seven minute duration—aching squalls of synth intermittently staining a bed of wheezy gasps and twinkling bells—before gracefully unfolding into a quietly crushing, beatless finale. Dreamy and dynamic in equal measure, it's an almost perfect closing number, fit for any DJ capable (with what precedes) of doing it justice.

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