Ryo Murakami: Spectrum EP (with Porter Ricks remix)

Ryo Murakami shouldn't take offence if more attention is given to the guest artist contributing to his latest EP: it does, after all, feature the first appearance by German producers Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig under the Porter Ricks moniker since a Nine Inch Nails remix appeared in 2002. The Porter Ricks project has achieved near-legendary status within the electronic music community, and the two albums the duo released on Chain Reaction (Biokinetics, 1996) and Mille Plateaux (Porter Ricks, 1997) sound as stunning today as when they were first released.

But let's not overlook Murakami's own material, which is powerful in its own right. Depth of Decay, the Osaka-based producer's 2013 album, signaled a move in a more experimental direction that's perpetuated by the EP's two originals. Calling them club tracks isn't entirely off-base, though they're better characterized as pure listening material. In keeping with the release's cover image, “Contagion” sucks you into its black hole with a relentless force. Driven by an unwavering beat thrust, the track swells in density as Murakami adds one industrial layer after another. As the pressure incrementally builds, the material begins to feel as if might combust at any moment, until decompression sets in and the threat dissipates. Less intense by comparison is “Statical,” which features an industrial-tinged lope so laid-back it's almost sleepy and is best regarded as an exercise in atmospheric design.

“Statical” also, however, proves to be ideal raw material for Porter Ricks to work with in its “Change of Tide” remix. Stretching the track out to almost twice its original length, Köner and Mellwig reshape it into a classic Porter Ricks-styled production, smearing Murakami's material with thick clouds of dust and haze as a pulsating beat pattern slowly rises up from the aquatic depths. Murakami and Porter Ricks prove to be a natural match for one another, given their shared affection for multi-layered track construction.

December 2014