DeeperNET: The Network
Spotted Peccary Music

The cliche holds true: appearances truly can be misleading. Given its quasi-psychedelic cover imagery and track titles such as “Satori” and “Fabrics of the Subconscious,” The Network suggests it may be another fine collection of ambient-electronic music from the Spotted Peccary Music imprint. Yet while it's suitably luscious and its production values high, Portland-based producer Andrew Miles' third DeeperNET release for the label is anything but soothing ambient. Forty-five seconds into the opening track “Cracking the Code,” it becomes clear that the genre in question is rave techno, the kind of thing that with its roaring beats and epic windups sends clubgoers into ecstasy-fueled frenzies.

Par for the trance-techno genre course, the album's BPM is generally set at a breathless pitch, and kick drums pound without pause for minutes on end. In representative cuts such as “Vision Quest” and “Quadraphilia,” beats chug with machine-like precision and swirling waves of wiry synthesizers gurgle, growl, and blaze with equivalent force. Not everything is so frenzied: “Mystic Division,” for example, slows the pace for a more contemplative kind of space reverie and in doing so aligns itself a little more closely to the customary ambient tone of the label; “Mystic Division” does, however, remain true to the spirit of the release as a whole in grounding its astral traveling with a heavy, pulsing groove. Even if the genre isn't to one's taste, it's still possible to appreciate the evident craft of something like the relentlessly charging “Hearts On Fire.”

Consistent with its Spotted Peccary brethren, The Network is polished on production grounds, even if the stylistic nature of its synthetic sound design parts company with much else on the label. Am I surprised to hear trance- and acid-techno on Spotted Peccary? No fronting here: I am indeed, though there's no law that says the label and its showrunners shouldn't venture into other stylistic realms when they're so inclined.

September 2016