Music Reviews

Apr 18 2017
Artist: Reliq
Title: Life Prismic
Format: CD + Download
Label: Noble (@)
Reliq’s third album is a bright and energetic collection of zippy, pop-glitch instrumentals with a diverse range of rhythms and samples. Skipping joyfully between Latin and European rhythms, between regular and complex times, chucking in single female vocal ahhhh lines, ethnic samples, a handful of synthwave stabs and every kind of percussion you can think of, it’s brimming with energy and a party feeling- albeit one of the more unusual parties you might ever have been invited to.

The frantic pace of tracks like “Ceramic Samba” is relentless to the point of almost being fatiguing. “Morocco Drive” starts off disguised as a ballad before the drum’n’bass rhythm kicks in. Every track is over five minutes long. Thankfully many of them have enough internal adjustment and surprise up their sleeves to keep them interesting- several, such as “Laputan”, have complete tempo changes, while “Vast Air” is an impressive feat of juggling multiple tempos simultaneously without ever sounding out-of-time.

It’s not a fashionable comparison, at all, but pieces like the extremely radio-friendly “Rain No More” with its sampled ethnic chants and downright funky bassline sound to me like what the first Deep Forest albums would sound like if they’d been produced today and released on a label like Planet Mu. In a good way, absolutely. That and the slightly folksy “Angel Costs” are the most accessible tracks, and good entry points.

The musical prowess behind this blending and sampling shouldn’t be understated, as it’s clearly audible on tracks like “Antic Stepper” and the multifaceted “Voynich Soundscript”. This playful confidence exudes through tracks like “Miyako”.

“Life Prismic” sounds like what you’d get if somebody sampled every release that had been reviewed on ChainDLK in the last year, pitched it all up an octave, threw it all into a pot and tried to make a Matthew Herbert-style pop album out of it. It shouldn’t work, but it definitely does.

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