Review: Terekke – ‘Plant Age’

Terekke’s location is currently listed on Bandcamp as ‘The Bahamas’, and after listening to his recent LP Plant Age, it comes as no surprise that the Amsterdam producer might find his spiritual home in sunnier climes. There’s a certain dreamy laziness to his tracks, and a sense of the hazy state of mind that comes after too much time spent in the sun. Even the more uptempo tracks feel unhurried and leisurely, the sonic equivalent of an afternoon stroll on the beach. Despite being released on seminal US label L.I.E.S, this isn’t so much music to dance to as music to sway to gently with your eyes closed. The most perceptible influence here is the psychedelic dub techno of Basic Channel – there’s elements here that are rooted in the dancefloor, but this is music for the mind, not the feet.

The calming effect that the record has works both for and against it. Drifting off through your  headphones to these blissed-out jams is undoubtedly enjoyable, a welcome distraction from a busy workday or too much time spent staring at a screen. This is true audio escapism, a soothing balm that rarely shocks, surprises or disappoints. That doesn’t always work in its favour, though, and at times the music is so hypnotic that it risks becoming forgettable, fading into the background. In some tracks, it’s all background – there is no foreground. ’JQM’, for example, bubbles along pleasantly for five whole minutes, then promptly fizzles out, while ‘Swim’ places vaguely new-age harps above an almost imperceptible kick drum to no real effect. It’s not all fluffy clouds and sunlight, though – tracks like ‘Mix 91’, with it’s cavernous low-end and heavyweight dub rhythms, grab your attention in places that it might otherwise drift away.

The somnolent, heavy-eyed feel of the music can often act as a distraction from its most interesting features. There’s some beautiful synth work in here, and the album as a whole has an impressively consistent tone – it’s filled with gauzy, diaphanous washes of sound that cascade and bubble over each other. It all sounds somehow aquatic; the way the world looks from underwater, as you lay at the bottom of a pool and see the sunlight refract through the surface. It’s a beautiful effect, and one that makes for soothing, psychedelic listening.

As with much of the other music coming out of the L.I.E.S camp, it could be categorised as ‘lo-fi’, but that reductive label wouldn’t do it justice. There isn’t a synth or a sample involved that isn’t fuzzy, washed-out or obscured somehow, but this lack of clarity doesn’t detract from the music. It serves to create its own unique soundworld, a hazy, sun-dappled soundscape that lets you slip in and take time away from any distractions. It might not make a profound impression, but it’s an undeniably pleasant way to spend an hour.

Plant Age is out now on L.I.E.S. Buy it here.

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