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Black Merlin – Scape One

For his first release with Artificial Dance, Black Merlin aka George Thompson takes a departure from the hard-wearing techno and intricate field recording work that he has come to be known for. Scape One is a fifteen-minute psychedelic diversion recorded in one continuous live session. While the track’s sonic characteristics may echo dance music from the turn of the millennium, its pulsating rhythm is more suggestive of the slowly evolving landscapes seen outside of a train window as opposed to raves from the late ‘90s. 

Appearing on the B-side is Gordon Pohl’s remix of Scape One. Like its source material, this track is long and subtle in the way it develops over time, but Pohl dissects the most salient elements of the original to construct a new rhythmic urgency. The high frequency accent that guides the remix does so at a speed that recalls the rotations of Brion Gysin’s stroboscopic Dream Machine, which taps into your brain’s alpha waves, aiding drug-free hallucinations. 

Pohl and Thompson are frequent collaborators and release music together as Karamika. While Scape One is not a collaboration in the strict sense, there is plenty of crossover in the working methodology of the two musicians, especially when it comes to constructing uncomplicated arrangements. 

The repetitive nature of their respective tracks locks the listener into a contradictory sensation of travelling whilst staying seemingly motionless. This sensation is not altogether uncommon, but in this instance it’s not quotidian either. The result is a record that unravels slowly, leaving space for the listener to home in on all the available information and, in the process, discover elements that can be just as unnerving as they are satisfying. 

Records purchased from the Artificial Dance Bandcamp page come with a further two remixes by Pohl as digital-only bonus tracks. Artwork by Steele Bonus. Mastering by Gordon Pohl. Text by Ilia Rogatchevski.

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