Review: In 2019 Max Cooper was getting toward the end of a push that saw the producer digging his heels into a most atmospheric, electro-acoustic and experimentally accessible sound. Keeping his progressive and melodic subtleties alive is a remix album featuring HAAi, Fort Romeau, Josh Wink and Rob Clouth to Steffi, Non Square and Max Cooper himself. Fort Romeau chimes in with a synth-fuelled ray of hope next to the syncopated rhythms, tumbling keys and arpeggiated vocals of Rob Clouth's touch. Haai goes deep, dubstep and estranged vocals in her remix, with some classic warehouse acid techno action coming from master of the discipline, Josh Wink. Turkish artist and recent Mesh signee Non Square turns in something reminiscent of that classic Bpitch Control IDM sound next to the straight up deep, lo-fi and banging electro rawness of Steffi's remix. Max Cooper reinterpretation in the mix too!
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: 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: 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.
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.
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.