Philogresz: The Lost Movie (Album Sampler Scene 1)

Ilker Soylu's Philogresz release The Lost Movie (Album Sampler Scene.1) not only predates the imminent release of a second twelve-inch—the second scene, as it were—but also the Philogresz debut album, itself naturally titled The Lost Movie. Certainly this first four-track sampler, which appears on marble vinyl and features the Phil Hinter Ensemble and Simon Hinter on separate tracks, bodes well for the album to come. Soylu wrote and produced the material in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Istanbul, and Amsterdam, and as such the tracks present subtle contrasts in mood and character.

Soylu eases the listener in gently by introducing the opener “Erotica” at a midtempo lope, but the temperature rises quickly with the addition of synth flurries and a crisp drum pulse. Though things even take a slightly proggy turn when a wiry figure and synth melodies enter the fray, the producer doesn't let the material stray too far from its techno-funk foundation, and the result is nine minutes of club music that for once justifies the adjective cinematic. The sampler's tracks typically exude a futuristic polish, never more so than during “Emmanuelle,” a gurgling techno-funk workout whose pounding groove Soylu peppers with spacey synths and martial snare patterns. Adding to the track's interest, a couple of brief organ solos take the track slightly outside its comfort zone but without undercutting the rhythmic intensity in the process. With the Phil Hinter Ensemble on board, the B-side's house jam “Dawn Is Mine” takes on a swinging Latin-jazz feel with piano sprinkles, cooing vocals, and percussion woven into its arrangement. Though “Rize Brother Rize” gains rhythmic heft from an energized house snap, the EP nevertheless ends on a melancholy note when Soylu and Simon Hinter use Rhodes chords and synths to conjure a wistful and even mournful mood.

All told, it's intriguing and ear-catching stuff whose four tracks impress for the imaginative touches Soylu works into their arrangements, and The Lost Movie (Album Sampler Scene.1) never comes across as merely a producer's latest four tracks thrown together for public consumption.

May 2014