Review: Ara-U – Black Hole EP (No Static/Automatic)

For fans of tripped-out, space-tumbling, galactic-glazed robo-funk, this is a must.

It’s always exciting when a new label pops up onto the scene. Seeing 001 on the end of the catalogue acronym, there’s always a sense of intrigue and mystery when those numbers appear. Questions come streaming through the brain.

Who set this up? What’s the name mean? Is it worth a listen?

You’ll only find out once the music’s playing.

For fans of tripped-out, space-tumbling, galactic-glazed robo-funk, pressing play on Ara-U’s Black Hole EP on his own No Static/Automatic imprint is a must. Across the release’s four tracks, the London-based producer exhibits great balance and expert progressions, transporting the listener across acidic asteroid belts and synchopathic solar systems. With the masterful Keith Tenniswood on mastering, and co-pilot Carl Finlow remixing a track, Ara-U’s maiden voyage is supersonic.

In Black Hole, the journey starts with slow descent into the unknown – dramatic, overwhelming synths wash over, before powerful kicks reverberate amongst crashing snares. Spat out the other side, wobbling synths layer atop the rumbling drums. The journey remains rough as we bounce beside flaming stars. Interrupting the dizzying melody, a driven bassline erupts with turbulence. Screeching stabs signal a complete lack of control as we continue to tumble further into the cosmos.

Hurtling along, the rockets have fully ignited. Arvo’s Sound Speech is travelling at lightspeed, fuel pumping through the engine. A deep and rhythmic bassline drives the ship forward, before a hypnotic acid line slaps you across the chops, taking us up a gear. As the breakdown steadies the track, and Arvo’s artistic monologue focuses, the engine splutters back into action with its frantic hi-hat pistons and nitrous boosting 303s.

Disintegrate only spikes the EP’s intensity further. Low-strung, pulsating synths flow atop crushing kick drums. Frantic laser bleeps meet vocoded robo-tones. Slapping snares surf with a subtle, sizzling acid line. We narrowly avoid the flaming body of a stray meteorite before Finlow’s remix maintains this crazy course.

Emphasizing the low-ends and stripping back the melody, this remix flips the rocket upside down. Bouncing along on wobbly bass, with metallic bleeps and shivering vocal glimmers, there’s a sinister funk to this number. Rumbling between stars, the regurgitated acid line and alien vocal loops signal a wild end to this mission. Gravity is still non-existent. Oxygen is low. Metallic gases engulf our craft.

Catch Ara-U alongside Sync 24 and Radioactive Man at The Glove That Fits this Thursday.

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