Vinyl-only label VENT are based in Eskisehir, Turkey, yet are otherwise a rather international affair. To date, they have hosted works from the likes of Croatian-artist Miss Sunshine, Sweden’s Arbiter and a number of UK-based acts including Rebekah, DJ Skirt and Stephanie Sykes. The latest release from the imprint journeys to the other side of the Atlantic, for a contribution from Los Angeles-based modular-manipulator, Bana Haffar.
When we first happened across VENT I would have told you they were a straight-shooting techno label, concerned with booming warehouse thumpers, inspiring ADE-style smoke-cannon climaxes. To surmise the label in this way today would be a disservice however, as VENT have started to look beyond the sometimes constrictive conventions of 4/4. Tolga Baklacıoğlu’s Peccum, Peccatum for example could have found its home on (the now defunct) Avian sub-label Mira, bone-rattling amplifier crunch and burbling modulations creating an unsettling exploration into leftfield electronics.
This latest release from Haffar might loosely be considered in the same vein, as it eschews conventional dancefloor patterns. Yet there is one big difference. Haffar’s goal seems not to disturb or confront, but to create richly-textured dreamscapes both soothing, and easy to get lost in. ‘Assimilaton’ for example begins with guttural twitches of sub and hollow-toned pulses, distant vocals emerging and fading again through a mist of reverb. Sun-blushed arpeggios slowly emerge from fog, working into an introspective and meditative piece of electronica. ‘Precipice’ on the other hand free falls into the darkness, ominous doppler-effect drones and expansive bursts of melody keeping the listener suspended in flight.
My favourite track on the release however is ‘Shift’, which calls to mind Amber-era Autechre slowed to micro-speed. Graceful melodics and whistling harmonies tumble forward, in a hazy voyage into the unknown.
By the looks of her live sets, Haffar has more hardware than you can shake a patch cable at. Unlike many acts though, this doesn’t equate to a messy or over-complicated output. What is particularly notable on her contribution to VENT, is how restrained, and tasteful her use of this gear is, putting her strongest ideas forward, and running with them without the need for unnecessary frills.