Published Feb 12, 2020Air Texture is an ongoing series that brings together two producers to work collaboratively on a compilation album that explores the outer edges of electronic music. For the seventh edition, London's Rrose (Seth Horowitz) and L.A.'s Silent Servant (Juan Mendez) have gathered up exclusive material from veterans like Luke Slater, Function, Anthony Child (aka Surgeon), LIES label boss Ron Morelli and others.
In an era when playlists seem to dominate how people listen to music, the Air Texture series is perfectly positioned as a curated platform for electronic music that doesn't focus on the dance floor, but is still presented with the cohesiveness and dynamics of an album. Rrose's selections reflect the more abstract elements of the techno producer's approach to electronic music, zeroing in on tracks that emphasize soundscapes, space and drone to push mood and tension.
The album opener from Anthony Child, also known as Surgeon, modulates and morphs his analogue rig as he utilizes stretchy delays and tape loop effects on "Forced Compliance Behavior, Decision-Making and Effort." This sets the tone for the rest of the double album, something that isn't easy to do with such a diverse group of producers working independently. Octo Octa's hypnotic, interlocking synth layering on "Hallway Visions" makes the most of a few filtered modular synth sounds, giving you the impression a much bigger arsenal isn't needed in the producer's world.
Luke Slater's "When It Twists" pops out on album two with a simple, bleepy analogue synth, some sparse piano, vocal loops and crisp breakbeat drums that feel straight out of the UK scene of the '90s. The post-punk beats and warped vocals of Silent Servant's "New World" provide the dynamic shift that is sometimes missing in the Air Texture series. JS Aurelius's "Complex Spectral Necr0scillator" could be overwhelming in the hands of a less talented producer, while DVA DAMAS's "Dance Song (This Is Not A)" continues to break out of the mould, with a stripped-down, almost electro-clash vocal, crisp handclaps and understated synth sirens. Berghain resident Function's "Zahlensender (ssb)" features bright modular synth notes that offer the counterbalance needed on a collection like Air Texture. Without it, the darker, more abstract soundscapes don't provide enough colour to get the full spectrum of sound and emotion.
As with previous albums, the cover art is provided by a contemporary artist whose work reflects the curator's approach to music and design. Air Texture VII's artwork utilizes the work of German minimalist sculpture artist Charlotte Posenenske. (Air Texture)