Phon.O Phon.OABAW723 / Sad Happiness
50 WEAPONS (50WEAPONS15DGTL, digital)
For several reasons, 50 Weapons has been one of the most in shape electronic underground labels for some time now. There's the artwork (never mind that these two Phon.O tracks are only available on digital; the 12” will come out eventually, and its sleeve art, a mix of two colours -always white, the other one is usually black, blue or red- will look glorious); there's Modeselektor's great nose for producers (like Anstam a few months ago) who are incredible but got lost in the cannibal mess that is techno today; and then there is the contents of each release. 50 Weapons releases vibrant and original club music, always with a twist, always an unusual mix of influences. On these two tracks, for example, the first thing you hear is a distinct Burial sound: the intro break on “ABAW 723” is reminiscent of pieces like “Pirates” or “South London Boroughs”, although that's where the trace ends. After that, in the midst of an almost trance-like arpeggio, comes garage and dub, like an impossible cross between Pole / Basic Channel and Girl Unit / Joy Orbison. The previous 12”, “Slavemode / Abbey Road”, was no accident, and this one is a delicacy.
In the case of “Sad Happiness”, the procedure is identical: stealthy intro break, synth notes start filling the room, a monster bass enters and the track grows as the sound become more obese. Here the 2-step rhythm is accompanied by darker details, sometimes close to techno, like a mix between Oris Jay and Modeselektor, which is the kind of sound that defines Phon.O and ennobles him as a producer. Here's hoping we won't have to wait for the vinyl too long .