With that in mind, I'd like to focus on such a thing sent to at the beginning of the year. Sent by Slovakian netlabel Gergaz Records, this is the Notch EP from Bratislava-based musicmaker FVLCRVM. Having grown up playing jazz and funk guitar, as well as possessing the insatiability of a multi-instrumentalist, he self-admittedly fell in love with synth music in his teens, and since then has formed a band – NVMERI – as well as DJing and making music himself under his inscriptive moniker.
The variegated background in music makes itself known on the EP – five wildly differing tracks from the mind of a guy who "can't get himself to use the same pattern twice" (SoundCloud bio). From the offset in 'Work It Out' – a twisted vaporwave-sounding 80s affair in 37 seconds: glitching, sampled, noisy – you get to know that this is a producer who loves to make exciting, dynamic music. This is confirmed when the second track blasts into your ears, a smooth slice of soulful singing set to addictive juke beats called, funnily enough, 'Gospel of Juke'. Its slow glossy bass and popping-candy electro beeps intertwine with rich sun-god vocal choruses, summoning the dew-tipped grass of a summer morning; samples abound to make this a universally appealing track, and one that makes me long for some heat and some sun (it's actually sunny right now and I'm loving it). A slower juke vibe appears in perhaps more techno-inspired 'Yummy!', with its altered-vox samples swaggering low and the sub-bass kicks summoning the pure dirt-sludge of ghetto house; again we have beeps popping around, hollow intergalactically modulating synths, whooshing and speckling the bustling beat for a future-finding sound.
That futuristic feel also appears on EP-closer 'That's The Way It Is', whose slow-sway clicking beat evokes winding-down nocturnal chill and supports fog-like bursts of synth, tied together wonderfully with harmonising vocal samples: "That's the way it is / When you fall in love," lifted from who-knows-where. It's a gorgeous song to end on, sumptuous with a buffet of different sounds, crackling ambience in the background, fading out long and slow with sensual heavy breathing to accompany it. You could see the whole EP as a journey, a night out at a party with this final track indicating romance of some sort, thus becoming the proverbial "notch" after which this EP is named; but I dunno if it's open to interpretation.
Great disco house vibes – with perhaps some garage influence here with ongoing high-register strings and syncopating percussion – permeate the menacing analogue sounds of 'Prism Vision', bustling with rich synth chords and a thudding bassline that leads the track through itself to its post-Earth orbit, the remnants of our population dancing in the galactic night. Next track 'Tokyo 360' features as its mainstay the warlike booms of a taiko drum, enveloping the skittering scuttles of the house beat, thin synth chords popping mutedly till changes in dynamic bring about expansive extensions of synths, the introduction of modulated arpeggios, sailing and soaring until they fade, leaving the busy beat in place to finish up.
It's this faith in beats that prove FVLCRVM's Notch EP to be gloriously listenable; giving them such room to speak for themselves in many instances across the EP means that within the rhythm itself there is something for your curiosity to drink up. These are interesting multilayered tracks, not just in the beat, but in the clear futurism of the synths and other instruments, offering up rich time-capsules of music that do not overcomplicate but move on simply, often with forgotten ancient pop culture from the Earth of yesterday running through their veins in the form of vocal samples. It's something that suits here and now perfectly, from a musicmaker whose future work – which I hope will be even more varied and evolved – I look forward to hearing.
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