Under promise and over deliver. This often used business mantra appears to be something Shipwrec have taken to heart for their new sub-label. Understated wouldn’t be a strong enough word for first impressions; the album art is plain white emblazoned with a scratchy black ARC#, each track is simply titled after a colour, and even the label name is the unassuming Deep Sound Channel. All of this leads to a genuine surprise when you start to delve into this release, by Dutch quartet Eshu, uncovering some truly gorgeous analogue techno.
The overcast Grey starts the collection with muted dub, rumbling like the approach of thunder, it gutturally purrs and then suddenly snarls. Moving with an effortless fluidity, Blue’s gently dripping pizzicato strings accompany a swelling pad, its hypnotic groove easily being a highlight of the release. This then leads into the flowery and rain soaked Violet; the wet patter of snares, distant dub echoes and cooing synths carrying a lighter mood.
Stark and skeletal, Purple is the toughest of the six tracks on offer; while the analogue nature doesn’t give the scope for rudimentary digital thump, the low sub and frayed hum crafts an inhospitable atmosphere. We then blossom into Red which, while the most melodic, carries a classic Ryuchi Sakamoto edge to it, off kilter and pentatonic. Finally, Pink finishes the collection by dropping the rigidity of the 4/4 kick, its cosmic shimmers adding a delicate touch to the mechanical grating tone.
Working with such a classic palette of sounds lends the release an air of timelessness, and contextually walks the tightrope between club and home listening. ARC# is antithesis of VSTi laden and clinically digital music for arenas overwhelmed by smoke machines and lasers. Available as a strictly limited double-pack, this firmly opposes the consumable nature of the contemporary electronic music scene, begging to be played, enjoyed and played again.