- Konstantinos Soublis' latest release is an aural adventure in every sense of the word. Traces is a diary of explorative musical sketches made during wanderings across the globe, yet at the same time carefully controlled in their evolution. While the form is (unsurprisingly) reminiscent of old Basic Channel and Chain Reaction tracks, it is the methodology of creation that saves Traces from being just another collection of solidly crafted yet ultimately outmoded dub techno.
Upon closer listen, it becomes apparent that the texture of almost every bar of music is subtly different from the next, in parallel to the gradual progression of the arrangements. Filters and effects delicately amend the record's melodies and percussive elements. While this means that microscopic compositional aspects themselves can often overshadow the songs as a whole, the album comes to life through the not infrequent combination of both; a mix of just the right blend of attention to detail with a keen sense of groove.
"Stations," the centrepiece and highlight of the album, is an example of a successful application of such an approach; a slow building amble through gradually mutating aural environments, it goes everywhere and visits almost everything despite at first appearing to go nowhere at all. By contrast, "Butiama" bounds along with uncharacteristic swagger, staccato melodies propelled along by buoyant claps, yet always underpinned with the signature shifting background ambience that characterises every great Fluxion track.
Restraint has always been Soublis' strong point. The best parts of the album are just as subtly satisfying as its predecessors, without, however, retaining the same sense of poignancy and urban loneliness that coloured Vibrant Forms or Bipolar Defext. While this means that Traces is not as instantly affective and as a whole ultimately doesn't attain the same heights as the Soublis' releases of old, it has a quirky and restless vibe that keeps it from ever getting stale. Indeed, the unceasing aural wanderlust would probably detract from the flow if not for the insistent percussion keeping a stately check on proceedings, ensuring things never get out of hand or wind down to directionless meanderings.
01. Motion 1
02. No Man Is An Island feat. Dennis Brown
03. Desert Nights
06. Motion 3
08. Burst Mode (Edit)
11. Motion 2 (Edit)