Ether: Quasi Quasar

M16: Archive Sessions Vol. 1

Previous Persistencebit releases from The Ventriloquist (AMB.) and Rolf & Fonky (To Care) showed Alessandro Vaccaro's Catania-based label to be more than a techno imprint and these latest 12-inch offerings maintain the tradition. Ether (Andrea Bracali and Andrea Masi) adjusts the focus from techno to electronic hip-hop on Quasi Quasar while M16's Archive Sessions Vol. 1 features electro-flavoured tech-house by Alessandro Bocci.

Of the two groups, Ether's sound is less characteristic of Persistencebit and, if anything, aligns the group more with Spezialmaterial and bands like Intricate and HP. Stonji (interestingly, Bracali and Masi were included on Ai Records' 2004 Station comp with the song “Hue Song” created under the alias Tin-Tole-Lata). Powered by rolling beats and snuffling masses of pinched electronic noises, “Kometa” in particular evokes Spezialmaterial's distinctive style while the downtempo opener “X-Kick” merges brooding themes with clanking beats that emanate a slight hip-hop scent. Throbbing beat percolations and fluttery electronics stoke a broil in “Pr P2,” leaving just enough room for gentle synth melodies to float peacefully over top, while the euphoric and slightly acidic closer “Desk on Midnight” steams with thudding beats and synth glissandi patterns.

Though Bocci goes it alone as M16, he also contributes electronic treatments and manipulations to the group Sinistri, an experimental Italy-based trio specializing in minimal 'nonmetric music.' On the evidence of Archive Sessions Vol. 1, however, M16's punchy rhythmic attack bears little resemblance to Sinistri's asynchronic style. Though sweetened by gleaming synth sparkle and dubby echo effects, a bass-driven lumber anchors the reverberant “To John” while “Drawbass Blues” takes a slightly more straightforward route with stomping tech-house pulses and minimal blues guitar figures. In the disc's strongest cut, the swaggering electro number “Electro Cube,” Bocci combines percussion swirls with wiry synth melodies while scratchy whistles and warbles pierce the song's spectral atmospheres.

August 2005