steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

El Fog

"Rebuilding Vibes" CD


Genre: micro-dub feat. vibraphone

Berlin, Germany

February 2010

This minimal, jazz-inflected dub release is a titillating headphone gem for those who like their music crisp and atmospheric. Rebuilding Vibes has been intelligently constructed from its component parts, each element tidily organized by skilled producer Masayoshi Fujita, who builds every piece meticulously out of session recordings. And, as the cover and title suggest, the record also serves as an extensive study of the vibraphone. Evident care has been put into every track, with ample attention allotted to each each sound's placement within the compositions. This notion is confirmed right off the bat on "Broken," in which a wiggly bassline, clicky beats, concise hand-claps, and, yes, a soothing vibraphone motif are all located wizardly in step with one another.

The record being highly dub-flavoured, a large emphasis is also placed on the bass and its interactions with the more fluid vibraphone parts. This is especially obvious on delightful "Waterfall," which employs a melodic double bass part that endows the track with a glistening and mysterious demeanour. More joyously studious micro-dub comes in the form of smooth "Space for the Rebuilding" and "November," both of which employ intriguing percussion constructed out of crackly static chirps. However, as the album wears down, the lack of variety can weigh down on the listener a fair bit -- the four instruments remain the same throughout, after all, and the mood is a constant shady noir. Curiously, it's the closer, "Dunst," which changes things up most radically, eschewing the overt beats of its predecessors for a quiet glitch track bolstered by a faint heartbeat rhythm. Somehow, despite overtly departing from the album's main thesis, it's still got that 2:00AM smoky nightclub aura to it.

Rebuilding Vibes is a mature sort of experimental dub album, with the added element of sampled vibraphone making for a cohesive if occasionally homogeneous record. I conceive this as sort of a cross between FS Blumm and early Dabrye, with other points of reference coming by way of early Ninja Tune as well as more experimental labels like Mego and Raster-Noton.

el fog's myspace

Live performance: 

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released Dec 9, 2009]