Lake People: Purposely Uncertain Field
Permanent Vacation

Sometimes when I'm listening to a recording, a track will jump out and immediately grab my attention. That doesn't happen all the time nor as much as I'd like it to, but it definitely happens on Purposely Uncertain Field when “Drifting Red” appears two tracks in. It's the tune's slinky, low-down funk groove that accounts for its immediate allure, but it's hardly the only thing arguing in its favour. Once the track's on its way, Martin Enke (aka Lake People) sweetens it with layers of percussive detail and then subtly sneaks in querulous synthesizer textures to deepen the vibe.

That “Drifting Red” jumps out so strongly doesn't mean that the rest of the eleven-track album isn't worthy of attention. In fact, Purposely Uncertain Field never fails to impress for the high quality of its production. The opener “Escape Velocity,” for instance, makes a strong case for the Lake People sound when bleepy synth accents, glimmering melodic phrases, claps, hi-hats, snares, and kick drums collectively form a propulsive, eight-minute exercise in clubby electronic music.

Enke shows himself to be a dedicated student of house and techno as historical genres in the way his material references a variety of styles, from atmospheric soundscaping to Detroit-styled techno. Tracks such as “Lamb Shift” and “Glease 29” hint at a strong Drexciya influence, and Enke's penchant for simple yet ear-catching synth melodies suggests that Kraftwerk likewise formed a key part of his listening regimen in the years leading up to Lake People's formation.

Though they're not delirium-inducing ravers by any stretch of the imagination, some of the cuts possess the requisite punch to ensure they'd translate well to the club setting (e.g., the hard-grooving proto-house of “Cooping”). “Illuminated” might be the most dynamic of the lot in that regard in the way it amplifies its locomotive thunder with acid synth accents and clattering claps, though “Blackpoint,” with its serpentine house swing, isn't far behind. The inclusion of interludes (“Orb,” “Bora”) and a relatively chilled closer (“Distance”) indicates that Martin Enke clearly crafted and sequenced his debut Lake People album so that it would satisfy as a listening experience and not merely as a collection of club tracks that just happen to be sharing the same piece of wax.

February 2015