From Bed To Couch
This is the debut full-length release by Berlin transplant via Rome, Jacopo Carreras. Despite the title, From Bed To Couch is no chill-out fodder: it's an arresting, invigorating, sprawling piece of work that dares to challenge the status quo of contemporary dance music -- not as negation, but as a kind of radically inclusive embrace of all kinds of electronically manipulated sound. It's occasionally manic, and unusually focused. And if you thought Berlin's Lan Muzic was a minimal label, think again. This is a wildly inventive amalgam of house, techno, rock, breakbeats, experimental electronics and brain-jarring noise that sounds like nothing else you've heard. You may detect echoes of Alter Ego, Radiohead, Autechre, Steve Reich, Mouse On Mars or Plastikman, but you've never heard them combined with such fluency and finesse. From studying aeronautical engineering to political philosophy to advanced computer music to full-blast live sets at clubs like Panorama Bar, It's probably no surprise that Jacopo designed much of the software he uses on the album -- a back-to-basics approach that yields results far more complex than your typical Ableton fare. (Even more unusually, many of Jacopo's own patches are included as bonus material on the CD, in the form of Pluggo plug-ins.) But don't be intimidated. At the core of the album are six monster techno tracks -- gargantuan jams unlike anything else coming out of Berlin today, or anywhere else, for that matter. Acidic sequences, muscular bass lines, ragged hi-hats, storm-tossed hand drums, delicate piano arpeggios -- all fused as if with a welder's torch into forms that are as supple as they are massive. (Think of Richard Serra's ominous slabs, combined with Frank Gehry's rippling surfaces.) Made with the club in mind, they're a DJ's dream, but they carry their energy with them wherever they're played.