In light of the nigh uncontrollable lengthening of my reviews, I’ll be sporadically posting more succinct takes as well (as were formerly posted within Soundscape show notes). I know – sacrilege. Items, old or new, that haven’t left rotation for at least a couple of weeks. First up:
There is nothing flashy or spectacular about Common Purpose, but it made its way onto my phone over 6 months ago and somehow still hasn’t left. Remarkably cohesive considering the collaborations – and not merely for the (to my taste) occasionally tacky lo-fidelity revivalism.
There is an understated elegance about the whole affair, with very carefully structured dynamics. At lower volumes half the album could be ambient dub techno, but turn up the amplitude and the other half is full of solid bangers. As with his work as Patricia, Ravitz doesn’t just build tracks out of arching layers over a steady beat in DJ-friendly fashion, nor does he diversify merely with ambient pieces (très chic on your average 12″ these days), but also throws in subtly complex tracks that vary rhythmic structures and throw in key changes (and even some vocals) to boot. I don’t believe there is a single straightforward production on the release. Even the nearly saccharine 2nd track, alongside Matt Gardner (aka Terekke), manages to change its perceived beat pattern simply through a pair low-pass filters – one on the synth wash and one on the percussion. Each fades in stops and starts across the whole of the track, and some mastering in post ensures that the subtler timbres of the bass line make for a memorable ending.