R-Zone‘s “guess the artist” concept of anonymity registers its first release of 2014 with a four tracker of throwback quality. For the elderly among us, R-Zone has always felt like sticking on a VHS of early nineties dance classics; the visuals crackling with static, colours bleeding with saturation and frayed audio that is barely holding itself together. Rather than being an icky window to a past that should have been confined to a time capsule and buried somewhere very secret and forgettable, it has proved refreshing to jaded souls and a source of inspiration to the infuriatingly young.
If you were to recommend an R-Zone to someone fresh to the imprint, this ninth entry in the series is possibly as accessible as they get. Diving in at the top, you are instantly rewarded by Down You Go, whose bell chimes capture the M25 spirit of old, featuring a vocal that is reminiscent of the airily light Opus 3. The acid groove of Give Me More is similarly inviting, bubbling away in gentle swells for the duration.
Marrying the standout elements of both those is the key track Too Much TV. The bass riff sounds like it is torn from an eighties straight to video action sci-fi flick, while the acidic tones are deepened, being constantly driven onward by the dub piano chime.
The only downer on the release comes from a personal bugbear. VHC Beats continues the acid fused dub routine but is processed with a huge amount of tape saturation. This is something which is proving to be a rather vogue obsession, filtering through onto a variety of releases with increasing regularity since last year. How well such stylistic rendering will sit with tracks as they age over the years is up for debate – who really wants simulated vinyl crackle on their vinyl releases? – but a solitary muddy excursion doesn’t overly soil another entry in this ever consistent series.
Discover more about R-Zone on Inverted Audio.