Review: UK artist and former Monkeytown associate Alex Banks finds himself in recent times as a marquee artist for Max Cooper's Mesh label. In 2019 the artist released his second full length album and first for Mesh entitled Beneath The Surface which in 2020 was given the remix treatment by the likes of Ital Tek, Robert Koch, Nicolas Bougaieff and Max Cooper himself. Adding to Banks' reinvigorated flow is this Tephra EP, five deep and melodic tracks that emerged from two months of production in the rugged, black volcanic surroundings of the Canary Islands. Full on, heavy and progressive drums bring to mind the productions on Tresque (see "Vegueta") with all tracks striking at a middle ground of hope, melancholia, disdain, lust and beauty (in particular "Siren Call"). With subtle breakbeats submerged between the bleeps and distortion of the title track, "Uber Dem Vulcan Wolken" flirts with ideas of dubstep alongside the peaceful ambience of beatless track "The Space Between".
Review: Friends Of Friends and Bad Panda Records associate Indian Wells makes his way to Max Cooper's acoustic-electrified Mesh label with New Ruins, the debut single from his forthcoming five-track EP of the same name. Recorded using digital and modular synthesis in deep in Italy's south, this project at large includes two video collaborations, with the film for New Ruins in particular taking in scenes from the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, which like the soundtrack, invokes deep and peaking themes of electronic, landscape music.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: "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: Delving further into a colourful introspective synthesis by the release is Max Cooper's Mesh label that so far in 2020 has exhumed music from the depths of minds like Rob Clouth, Alex Banks and Indian Wells. Bringing closure to what's been an epic year for Mesh is this all encompassing four-track from Cooper himself; a record born from the first lockdown phase a generation has seen that comes to life through an otherworldly frame of field recordings, harmonies, clicks and cuts to micro-rhythms and trance heavy pulsations inspired by our planet itself. Full of humanity, playfulness and rearing intensity, Cooper's elements here are an accompaniment to a series of short films that take an acousmatic approach to voice, foley sound design and pianos, with the free jazz and orchestral brilliance of "Spike" and "Surge" a high note. Adding to the legacy of music created by the likes of Pantha Du Prince and the percussive end of the Erased Tapes catalogue in "Swarm", Cooper warmly wraps its arrangement in hopeful and luscious tones, alongside the equally sweet notes and melodic bounce of "Reflect" - a track-title and album name that says it all.
Review: For this project which explores the intersection of science, music and art, Max Cooper was influenced by varying interpretations of time. For the inspiration behind the EP, he said he was trying to find an explanation for our experience of time - a growing physical dimension that we experience in the present, but on the cusp of inflation. Pretty deep stuff! Furthermore, the visual and musical ideas were conceived during train journeys, then taken into the studio to form each track, and finally a collaboration with Kevin McGloughlin created video representations that will feature in their upcoming live show. The sombre and introspective ambient journey "Veil Of Time" starts things off until "Resynthesis" kicks in with the groove on this lush deep tech house journey backed by superior sound design. "Stacked Moments" takes things up a notch yet again on this hard hitting effort - possibly the most most aggressive we've ever heard from the Irishman. Its broken rhythms approaching near industrial moments, backed by some abrasive sonic textures. Finally his collaboration with Rob Clouth entitled "Corporeal" (heard previously on Cooper's Essential Mix) features the sound of a synth run through a radio transmitter!
Review: Hot on the heels of the release of "Dust", Mesh delivers some high-quality remixes of Nicolas Bougaieff's work. First up is Guy Andrews. Best known for his work on Houndstooth and Hemlock, he turns the title track into a wonderfully cinematic, sound scape. Label owner Max Cooper's take on "Dust" offers a radically perspective: while it also resounds to melodic ebbs and flows, undulating electronic pulses power it onto the dance floor. Deapmash contributes the last remix; the French producer's take on "Bremsstrahlung" is radically different to the preceding interpretations, with a raw, stepping rhythm underpinning chilling chords and droning tones mapping out a menacing conclusion.
Review: Following up great releases on Traum, Trapez and Novamute, French-Canadian Nicolas Bougaieff presents a three track EP on Max Cooper's Mesh imprint. Dust borrows its name from a book by Greg Egan, a sci-fi story where humans gain immortality by duplicating their consciousness via software. From the full throttle energy of the title track, where its austere elements are contrasted by sublime use of melody - altogether pulling you into the vortex. The intricate and multi-layered electro journey "Bremsstrahlung" showcases the dynamic producer's talent for impeccable sound design on this dystopian electro number, and "Dust Theory" is a nefarious dark ambient journey that isn't shy of using some serious overdrive and distortion.
Review: After a hiatus, Spanish producer Rob Clouth returns with this remix package on Max Cooper's label. Cooper himself is first up with stepping, grinding take on "Shedding Layers". Broken beats and grungy bass tones provide the backdrop for Clouth's spacey synths, but on this occasion, it's all about Cooper's distinctive rhythms. On a totally different tact is Ben Lukas Boysen's version of "Transition". The storied producer forsakes kick drums in favour of a dreamy tapestry of interwoven textures and melodies that swoops into a cacophony of synth dreaminess. It sounds like the soundtrack to an as yet produced sci-fi movie. Brecon's take on "Silica" sees him deliver woozy textures over a seductive, languid back beat, while rounding off the package is Chihei Hatakeyama's ambient version of the same track.
Review: Making something of an impact with the two records he released with Leisure System in 2014-15, Rob Clouth's bleep, rave, hardcore and IDM manifestations make it back to Mesh for a second label offering in two years. It follows the release of his Transition EP for the label last year and presents something of a reprise to those four tracks, with the delicate, cosmo-euphoric electronics of "Vacuum State" . Two versions here for your liking.