Originally active in 2003-2004 as an abstract dance-oriented offshoot of Warp, Arcola relaunches (just shy of its 15th birthday) as a ltd 12" imprint that uses the format to explore the spaces where contemporary electronic music meets 'club music' in 2018 and beyond.
Rian Treanor has long been a staple of our listening habits since his game-changing sides for The Death Of Rave. Having kept quiet on the release front since the summer of 2016, he sparks off the seventh Arcola with the Contraposition EP.
Showing a darker side to his sound than previous releases, Contraposition's four entries mix subzero tones with a serious techno insight. Effortlessly rewiring the twilight sound of UK Garage, Eski rhythms at their most skeletal, and a serotonin-soaked Reinforced style sensibility.
Cut super loud to wax, for those needing touchstone points of reference, we'd liken elements to the work of everyone from Jean-Claude Risset, Jam City, Lorenzo Senni, Optical and Gesloten Cirkel. Yet, the deeper in you go, the more that Contraposition reveals itself to be one of the most original and devastating 12"s you are gonna come across this decade or next.
The Death of Rave, [RAVE017]
The EP's four cuts pursue angular mutations of 2.1-step and and early Warp techno into faster BPMs and colourfully chromatic, sidewinding structures, all driven with a breathlessly forward, quicksilver style that's entirely Rian's own and with few comparisons in the current field.
Operating exclusively at a signature 150bpm temporality, the Pattern Damage EP finds Rian both opening out and refining his sound, greeting you with the brutalist, grimy n0!se of Pattern_A1, which sounds closest to SND or Errorsmith's most oblique twisters, before the dub chords and skittish rhythms of Pattern_A2 recall Autechre getting off at Niche Club (R.I.P.) and Damage_B1 comes off like a giddier, footworking answer to Hyph Mngo before Damage_B2 unfolds a super cute and tricksy origami syncopation.
By splicing the syncopated swing 'n parry of Sheffield's speed garage sound at +8 with the whirlwind flux of Chicago footwork, Detroit jit and the dizzying dynamics of Max/MSP software, his sound dances in a double refraction of ideas and influence between US, Afro-Caribbean and UK dancefloors in various stages of integration and mutation; following a line along Black-rooted dance music and the sharpest edge of experimental electronics in a way that's informed the best, open-minded UK music since the mid 20th century and is now inseparable from our shared culture in 2016.
The Death of Rave, [RAVE012]