As far as independent labels are concerned, Berlin based Acting Press don’t play by the rules. CC Not’s refreshingly clever calling card “Geo Fi“, set the tone this year with a deconstructed take on 90‘s informed techno, while a solo venture for PLO Man with “Stations Of The Elevated“, flexed the label’s more housey muscles and sky rocketed on online marketplace Discogs. More recently, a secret cassette by the name of “TT Vol. 1“, released at a 180G Berlin in-store, was supposedly limited to just twenty-five copies and left fans scrambling to grab one. It’s rare that a label builds such a cult-like following in under a year, on the back of such spontaneity.
The imprint’s newest project, Attitudes In Error, keeps us guessing. Before even listening to the “Vplay EP”, a mysterious poster found tucked away inside the record sleeve invitingly reads ‘addnumber.info’. Once on the website, peaceful cumulus clouds provide a visual backdrop to the soft, harmonic bleeps of a telephone switchboard from another world. “Add number!” commands an eerie but impatient voice, while reverberating, galactic dial tones begin tentatively. A bizarre, yet careful reminder of the unconventional way in which Acting Press has gone about its business in past few months: with a quick-witted originality that continues to impress.
And then there’s the music of course. The record itself is an intriguing new direction yet not completely devoid of that distinctive sound which ties Acting Press releases together. Those shimmering 808s are still present and so are the atmospheric, expansive pads, but this time we are shifted back to the apex of the late 80s with the opening track, ‘Rhyme’, a Pacific State-esque slice of house which stretches for miles with the simplest of components. As the track reaches a close, those supremely retro-styled synths leave us aching for more: the perfect invitation for the more ambient soundscape, ‘Laps Castle (101)’, to ease in with its sparse, dubbed out percussion, creating a gentle, lingering space.
Flip the record over and things get weirder. The onomatopoeic track, ‘Birdzz’, is by far and away the most daring on the EP, with its strange symphony of oscillating bird song. On paper, such chaos should be more annoying but the track manages a fun and bouncy, late 80’s vibe that becomes more infectious with every playful, syncopated snare. Just when needed, the deliciously odd sonic soup, ‘Event Horizon’, brings us back down with its distant tones and lightly discordant pads.
Vplay EP is out now, but is sold out at most outlets, try your luck at Discogs.
A2. Laps Castle (101)
B2. Event Horizon
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