September 6, 2011

BASICS recommends: ECHOCORDCOLOUR016 - Skudge - First Observation EP

Few years ago, a series of records appeared out of nowhere under the Skudge guise. Nothing was known when they appeared about the person or people behind the alias, other than the fact that they had released a record on Alphahouse in 2009. There are just a few underground artists who have made an entrance onto the electronic music scene that strong as Skudge.

Skudge are two Swedish guys, Elias Landberg and Gustaf Wallnerstrom. When they were asked about why they initially chose anonymity, one of the members of Skudge told the interviewer: „We choose to be anonymous because we want the listeners to put focus on our music and not our personalities. For us, the music speaks for itself.”

Although the duo was only formed a couple of years ago, in the summer of 2009, they have already moved out of near-anonymity of deep, warehouse-styled House and Techno fans. What is so impressive is that all of their releases so far have been strictly vinyl affairs - no digital files at all.

Following the 2010 inception of their own imprint, Skudge Records, the duo has built up quite the cadre of devoted followers, and seeing their work on some a more widely-recognized imprint is well deserved acknowledgement, indeed.

This year was a great year for Skudge with a wonderful debut album out this spring and two new releases, first of them named „Below / Phantom” and the second being exactly this one which is also an intersection between House and Techno which seems to be the point where the duo most often find themselves.

It’s always been difficult to talk too much about their music.

Elias and Gustaf have delivered a lot in a short time under their partnership as Skudge. This may be a bad thing for most if we think about the quality of their music, but the Swedish duo knew how to make a good catchy thing and to maintain a high standard of output since the Autumn of '09.

The „First Observation” EP is the first release by the Stockholm-based Skudge on Echocord Colours which is a label that has been pursuing its own style without giving away the headscape of having a solid representation over a selection of crafty artists. For Skudge though, this is a release not so similar to their other tracks on Skudge Records.

„Surplus” and „Void” both sit at the deeper end of the Techno spectrum with the flip being the marginally more punchy of the two cuts, while dutchman Conforce completes the package with an uncharacteristically dull Dub workout.

„Surplus” sees agile dubby flexes, immaculately executed and is based around a set of deep Techno chord stabs thrown in with a measure of discrete whistles and driving claps. There’s a certain Dub atmosphere to it, but it’s really rather too busy to call Dub-Techno.

Flipping the record over we find „Void” and with it more reasons why this pair have gained the attention of so many people who all seem unable to say exactly why it is they’re so good. This one is a catchy two-note dancefloor driven piece which mutates and intensifies just enough to keep listeners wondering what the next bar will sound like.

The ever-reliable Conforce steps up for a remix of „Void” and flips it in a new direction, reconciling skippy rhythm and Detroitian hi-tech Soul with a heavy sub-bass mixed in with distorted stabs and dreamy synths lines.

Skudge - Surplus

Skudge - Void

Although these productions are optimized for maximum dancefloor impact, there’s also another impressive fact about them: sounds and vocal snippets are subtly, selectively employed to imbue each loop with an extra infectious sense of swing or to underline a groove or accentuate an emotion.

There is no doubt that this is a supernaturally good EP!!!

You can buy the release via Boomkat in the form of a 12” / digital download, and if we managed to get you interested into Skudge’s sounds they have loads of previously released material ready for you to check and add to your record collection.

Denisa Lazar

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