2014 has been a productive year for Mark Forshaw. In the wake of two EPs released on Mathematics and III Rivers, the Liverpool-based producer now returns with a third delivery that makes for a perfect point of honour to a well-filled year of musical explorations and sonic ventures. To sum things up a bit roughly, that Explorer EP doesn’t depart from the tentacular and daring approach that characterizes Forshaw’s sound. It’s perhaps even the most representative example of his well-tried technique and wide-scope of influences to date.
With each tide of those ultra-flexible acid lines’ lumps and bumps unveiling its lot of background sound concretions, ‘H1_1P‘ makes for a feast of hard-hitting warehouse beats and circuitous groove. Forshaw goes in for the full club stomper with a rugged and lush battery of flanging synth lines crackling the varnish in a pressurized crescendo. The result is proving efficient. Not particularly surprising coming from Forshaw, the acid hotchpotch is getting a serious treat here and although that twisted ensemble of elements tend to split in many directions at high-speed, the man guides his machine-concerto to a well-arranged outcome.
‘Table Etiquette‘ is an interesting piece in that acid-driven puzzle of sounds. It keeps up with Forshaw’s uptempo rhythms but brings in a subtly-orchestrated pouring of melancholic flats, pads subducting those wild, spaced-out synth projections while claps sweep-up the few remnants. Here’s Forshaw’s potential being exploited in full effect, capable of paring-down his game in an ingenious twist, morphing grooves and track-speed in one dash.
The flipside shows another facet of the man’s abilities with ‘Magnetic Highway‘. The track unravels a string of sun-streaked synth lines and vocal fractions that sound like slowly dissolving beyond the cusp of each bouncing acid bubble being dropped. Forshaw then drops a ridiculously high-pitched and distorted moog solo that sounds like an over-saturated guitar show-off by Slash himself playing under a leaden Californian sun. The perfect tune to nicely break up the 4/4 demonstration and breathe in some fresh air definitely.
Forshaw attacks the last home stretch with the batteries fully loaded and ‘Take Off‘ brings the EP to an end in an epic discharge of energy. A fast-runner that literally takes you to a levitating state, no less than that. Explorer doesn’t end on a padded ascent or ambient drift for a reason, instead giving vent to a concussive final round of acid uppercuts thrown at demented pace. It’s Forshaw’s reason for being. No intro, no outro, the ’90s acid house groove is back in full force, boiled-down to its essential ruggedness. No doubt, it feels good to follow him in this back to the future’sque trip to the roots and really, what better guide could have we asked for?