Cloned – ‘Sapphire 1990’ (Midgar)

This 6 track EP comes courtesy of tfresh-faced artist Cloned, via the equally fresh Midgar Records, as its third release. Thus far the Berlin imprint has put out some impeccably crisp tracks, all groovy, atmospheric and really rather good. This latest piece (mastered by the inimitable Ken Karter no less) is another feather in their cap.

The title track ‘Sapphire 1990’ is exquisite. Beautifully atmospheric synths and crafty acidic stabs dance with one another, whilst neat, sharp hats and kicks tie down this warm, pulsating track that will pull apart dance floors when put on at the right moment. ‘The Pendulum’ is a jacking affair, reminiscent of earlier Chicago records with a modern twist, in the context of the rest of the record however it seems a bit out of place. ‘Belgassem’ is a rigid, directional track that is much more fitted to the aesthetic of the opener; with a whirring acid pitch and a relentless beat that can take you back to the warehouse.

In my mind, this is where the piece should be split. The overall aesthetic is, on the whole, relatively uniform throughout, but the styling of ‘Submerging’ and the two bonus, digital-only tracks ‘Sudden Death’ and ‘Corel’ have enough impetus to command their own part of the release; perhaps a p.1 & p.2 would have worked just as well.

‘Submerging’ follows the Acid route at a much slower tempo. Tin Man-esque evolutions roll into one another atop a hazy background and well-balanced percussion. ‘Sudden Death’ goes darker and more brooding, echo-y kicks and vocals create tension, whilst Burial indebted double-time hats and legato string sounds drift in to create an aching melody. ‘Corel’ is a dancefloor tool that creates a stark and barren lunar landscape, thumping kicks and an omnipresent hollow melody, sounding somewhat like a glockenspiel, turns this last track into something of a bookend to the EP as a set of classy dancefloor bangers and leftfield interpretations of tried and tested sounds.

‘Sapphire 1990’ is out on Midgar Records on 25th February.

Oliver Todd

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