Trawling the internet this weekend for new music, I stumbled upon some old music reissued, namely the 1996 debut record by Porter Ricks, Biokinetics. Porter Ricks was a collaboration between dark ambient musician and media artist Thomas Köner and sound engineer Andy Mellwig which produced a techno record that defied stereotypes, melding Köner’s frosty textures with Mellwig’s gritty rhythms.

Originally released on the Chain Reaction label, (a sub-label of Basic Channel, home to the amazing Rhythm and Sound label and dub collaborative projects) the album was housed in a metal, instead of plastic jewel case. While a fine looking package and whether by accident or design, each time the CD was ejected from its metal home it would require the use of a substantial amount of force. This resulted in the CD cracking around the centre plastic hub, the metal case effectively eating the disc, little by little, each time it was removed. My personal copy suffered this fate, the disc itself was removed often, eventually cracking to the point of rendering it unplayable. Subsequently, mint copies of this edition would fetch a nice price on the internet marketplace.

The music contained within sounded like rave at the end of a glacier, its loops and ambiences seemed to be recorded in the aural equivalent of wide-view, limitless and unending. Köner’s solo work, minimal slabs of dense, isolationist sound is very much present here but Mellwig adds beats or what could more aptly be described as ‘pulses’,(check out Port Gentil and Biokinetics 2) giving life but not detracting from Köner’s atmospherics. Basslines seem to rise from the ocean floor, kick drums sound like depth charges, the allusions to water deliberate, reflecting the endless, sometimes subtle, occasionally tumultuous sounds emanating from the speakers.

The album has been rereleased by Type in a standard jewel case, double vinyl and various electronic forms and sounds timeless as much as it did 16 years ago. Its influence on the sounds of dub step is obvious and is a highly recommended listen for anyone interested in this genre’s or contemporary electronica’s precedents.


~ by spatialthoughts on February 25, 2012.

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