Sunday, 14 July 2013


Oh deary me. I was supposed to write about this a while back, but things kept coming in and piling up and whatever. The travesties of the cluttered life are many and embarrassing. If I were a total professional, I'd leave this part out. But I'm a real person. Send me an email and I'll whizz back the most professional reply this side of the finance industry. But since I'm writing and it's fun to do, I'll just be a real person thanks. Cheers! Ok!

I wrote about Italian-in-Tokyo Earthquake Island last month, specifically his song 'The lake and the mist'. This song's smart percussion and ambient sounds drove it into a whole region of chillment - very nice indeed. It comes from the album, released at the end of last month, The case of Galastrophy. I was very interested to hear what this sounded like (but yeah it slipped my mind like I said).

And thankfully, listening to it now, it certainly delivers. Based on my own expectations in any case, it's exactly what I thought it would be - not that it is predictable. For instance, first track 'Sunrise on', whose breathy synths act like veils for ghost-recording samples, gives the beat pride of place, filling it with a jingling like loose change in pockets, well-placed banks of snares and crispy claps. It's this attention to detail in the beat that becomes a defining character of the album. It's just as well constructed in the slow fluid tide of 'My moon, my moon' - a space-jump from the dusty surface of a lunar landscape to look down upon the deathly still surface - and in 'The lake and the mist'.

But sometimes the beat isn't so much of an experimental toying with percussive sounds - it can be minimalistic, as in the the simple kicks 'n' snare of gently chilled 'Flying cat 2' and the delectable claps in 'Bedding and wheels', whose sampling is in contrast quite hectic, providing a wilderness for the track. Earthquake Island, real name Emiliano Ruggiero, also puts a traditional groove on a couple of tracks - namely that of hip hop: 'Fantastic' is as its adjectival namesake describes, intergalactic sounds moan and bubble and stretch far-off behind the swaggering beat, whistles of a space mechanic at work on a ship, the lone vocal sample of "Fantastic" beautifully interrupts the song at intervals - other instrumental samples jostle for space. Easily my favourite on the album.

In a similar vein 'Super strawberry' waxes hip hop, a head-boppin' beat stuck with tight snares and rain-stick-sandstone-crumbling claps. Samples interlace: a girl giggling (or crying?), snippets of something sung, glistening xylophonic sounds. 'Galastrophy' both continues and ends the chilled vibe that lies at the heart of this album. Its slowdown beat holds up a whole host of noises, a whole cacophony of them like Snapchats from another galaxy. A spoken word sample speaks of life on other planets, and it kinda cements what I was thinking all along: Earthquake Island is a producer lost in imagination, looking up at the sky - and everywhere else around him - for inspiration. His dreamy sounds, which seem tailor-made for the purpose of losing yourself therein, are clear evidence of this.

This comes from the Italo-Swedish (or Swedo-Italian) label, Fresh Yo! Records.

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