Label: Sylphe Records Format: Limited 12” Release Date: 13/02/14
By this stage I think it’s fair to say Sylphe Records have hit their stride somewhat; the London based label’s regularly paced string of releases maintaining a consistently high-standard. With its fifth edition, the imprint’s two person roster Holdie Gawn & Micawber break in the first release of 2014, continuing their experiments in leftfield analogue house.
‘Thron’ opens proceedings with aquatic filter sweeps barbed percussion riding a familiar 4/4 pulse, before the introduction of a squelching riff several minutes in. This is joined periodically by what sounds like distant whale song, adding direction to Holdie Gawn’s otherwise atonal synth-play.
Charting similarly abstract territory, Micawber’s ‘F7’ occupies the b-side of the release. There is something remiscent of Lowtec or Jan Jelinek in the track’s subtle glitches and delicate micro-house sway, booming low-end lending a sturdy groove easy for Micawber to build around. As the track progresses it begins to take a more improvisational tone, distorted breaks cutting sharply through ‘F7’s alien arpeggios and buzzing atmospheres.
The avoidance of usual riffs or basslines in this latest release means the duo’s more experimental tendencies can take full-focus. For me, this has always been the most interesting aspect of the label’s releases, making Sylphe 05 a strong contender for my favourite in the series.