Review: The UK outpost of Traum's trance empire comes good with a diverse release. "Spiral Inflections" sounds more like mid-90s UK techno than trance, its wiry, stripped back rhythm and acidic undercurrents coming across as a leaner, spikier take on Plink Plonk's catalogue. "Basal Ganglia" meanwhile sees Cooper conjure up an amalgamation of noisy Squarepusher bass with his own textbook dreamy synths. Cooper's Microtrauma take on "Gravity Well" reverts to his standard sound with its humming bass, ghostly chords and glitchy percussion combining to create a peak time number. But it's the original version of "Gravity" that impresses most, its poignant synths unfolding over a laid back but squelchy groove.
Review: The leading contender to wrest the nu trance crown from James Holden sets out an impressively diverse stall here. "Echoes Reality" is a deliciously spaced out techno track, with a soaring, ghostly bassline, glitchy percussion and reverberating melodies pushing it through peaks and troughs. "The End Of Reason" is a totally different proposition, a symphonic, string-fuelled ambient arrangement that would make William Orbit envious, while "Darkroom" marks a return of sorts to the realm inhabited by "Reality", but this time the bass is more detuned and menacing. "Qualia" provides further surprises, its feather-light hooks resting on a delicate, introspective rhythm, and finally, John Tejada delivers a chiming, resonating take on "Darkroom".
Review: The new master of UK trance delivers a release that combines the electronic and the organic and the pastoral with the futuristic. "Epitaphy" is a hands-in-the-air affair thanks to its buzzing bass and trancey melodies and in spite of its abstract beats. "Autumn Haze" meanwhile is more gentle and natural sounding, its serene melodies unfolding over microscopic beats. Ripperton's version does much to reinforce this pastoral approach with birdsong in the break down and chiming rhythms underpinning the bucolic melodies. Then it's back to the modern world with the distorted bass and robotic shuffle of "Raw" and "Simplexity", which is all brittle beats and gloopy bass providing the basis for backwards vocal samples.
Review: Max Cooper's magnificent opus Emergence was released in late 2016 and was one fantastic journey through the deeper shares of tech house and electronica, incorporating some awe inspiring sound design and deeply evocative grooves that accompanied an impressive visual show for his live sets. The single "Distant Light" was a deep and slinky cut, geared for the late night and here it gets a remix by Leicester's Rival Consoles. He takes it down a far darker and tunnelling route with sinister horns, hypnotic pads and tough rhythm patterns; all the while retaining some of the ethereal magic of Cooper's original. Brilliant rework right here.
Review: London's Max Cooper has stated that when he plays a live show, he likes to deconstruct the performance into fragments of sound on a granular level, paying meticulous attention to detail. For his Emergence live A/V (that he's been touring for the last two years), he applies these same principles to the visuals; using a variety of MIDI methods that are synced and allow him to manipulate both in realtime. It's the story of how "everything comes from (almost) nothing," using knowledge, theories and insights gained from his previous role as a geneticist. Cooper weaves a together a fascinating auditory experience here, his second album since 2014's Human, covering a variety of sonic moods in his now signature way. Take for instance "Trust" featuring the lovely vocals of Kathrin deBoer and a bit of help from good studio mate Tom Hodge; here jazzy drum and bass arrives via field recordings and classical aesthetics in wonderful harmony. Also, the deep, multi layered and ethereal journey track "Waves" sees Cooper on point, as usual, until "Cyclic" goes for something a bit more ferocious on this broken beat techno exercise where inventive use of sampling and sound design collide with perfect tension and suspense.
Review: This jam-packed collection boasts ten new remixes of tracks from Max Cooper's 2016 album Emergence, a largely downtempo set inspired by his live audio-visual performances. As you'd expect, many of the reworks are dancefloor focused, with Vessels, Joe Farr (whose distorted, industrial-tinged techno take on "Panned" is a definite highlight) and techno veteran John Tejada all delivering standout interpretations. These fine remixes are accompanied by similarly impressive rubs that don't strive as hard for club plays, with Hidden Orchestra's symphonic version of "Symmetry" and Tom Hodge's intricate, melodious rework of "Cyclic" standing out.
Review: Following up 2016's acclaimed Emergence album, Max Cooper has spent the last year working on his new LP for his Mesh imprint. He has explained that each track on One Hundred Billion Sparks 'is a score to a visual story stemming from this system of one hundred billion sparking neurones, which create us.' As with previous concepts, he has also ventured into some weird visual realms for the project, finding more beautiful ideas/scenes to bring to another one of his acclaimed live shows - his most ambitious thus far. Features the singles "Identity" and "Rule 110" in addition to other sonic highlights such as the deeply eheteral "Phi", "Emptyset" with its rich tapestry of hypnotic melodies or the sheer tension and suspense of "Identity".
Review: Like Nathan Fake and Dominik Eulberg, Cooper is a master of a particularly gentle, organic strain of trance. The UK producer's ability to craft beautiful, atmospheric tapestries is audible from the get-go here, with the title track showcasing jittery wind chimes and evocative melodies. The somewhat grandiose-titled "Coils Of Living Synthesis" sees Cooper up the tempo, but with a twist as glitchy, dissected rhythms provide the backing for windswept synths. There is a similarly dynamic at play on "Molten Landscapes", where he fuses swirling hooks with an offbeat, pulsing groove. "Four Tone Reflections" sees him, like many of his peers, integrate throbbing fuzzy guitar with a clubby groove, while Romanian in Berlin Cosmin TRG rounds off the release with a stepping techno take on "Chromos".
Review: "Reflex" was one of the highlights of Cooper's 2018 album, One Hundred Billion Sparks, and it's not hard to understand why. Evolving from glitchy percussion and menacing bass tones, it teases the listener without ever truly exploding. For this single release, Cooper has edited the track, and "Reflex Values", the new version, sees him finally give the original the release that it needed. Pummelling kicks underpin the glitchy elements that morph into a stepping segue before Cooper heads back into straight 4/4s. Cooper then hands over the reins to DJ Tennis and collaborator Barratt, who turn "Reflex" into a tripped out, low-slung house groove that resounds to cowbells and atmospheric synths.
Review: "The Barbican is such a special and powerful space, I've had many of my greatest live musical moments there," tells Max Cooper in an interview. Yearning for the Infinite follows Cooper's 2018 LP One Hundred Billion Sparks which comes through a commission that the Barbican Centre gave Max Cooper in being able to present a live audiovisual show in an attempt to capture what he defines as 'the overwhelming vastness of infinity' within Kulturquartier's "Betonhalle". Impressive. Much like Nils Frahm, Max Cooper hits on many a sweet note when venturing through his own interpretation of liminality, arriving with the sound of fizzing electronics and the hum of hardware, to field recordings, live drums and emotionally affecting synths lines. A trip from start to finish.
Review: Tracks from Max Cooper's One Hundred Billion Sparks album from 2018 get remixed by a veritable who's who of underground electronic music. Barker turns "Phi" into a jittery, broken beat piece, while in Synkro's hands, "Rule 110" turns into a stop-start slice of drum'n'bass, with the original version's melodies unravelling over its hyper-speed breaks. Parra For Cuva and Roly Porter's takes on "Hope" make for more reflective, immersive listens, particularly the Porter version, with its expansive, hymnal ambience. In contrast, DJ Tennis & Barratt pick up the pace with their edit of "Reflex", turning it an undulating groove, while Robag Wruhme's version of "Volition" is a superior piece of glitchy minimal house.