- When a producer reinvents their sound it can yield creatively rich results. Andy Stott did it, Shifted did it, and on Joy One Mile, Stellar OM Source has pulled a similar trick. The album is the culmination of a journey that began when Christelle Gualdi was offered a mint-condition Roland TB-303 for €25. She showcased her new direction on an excellent 12-inch for Rush Hour's no-label series last year. A tough EP of Detroit-style techno, it added some drum machine funk to her existing blend of New Age ambience and spectral synthesisers.
Released through RVNG, Joy One Mile has been mixed and arranged by Gunnar Wendel, AKA Kassem Mosse. It wasn't a collaboration in the traditional sense—Gualdi says she simply handed her tracks over to Wendel, who had the freedom to do as he pleased. A giddy excitement runs through the album, as Gualdi throws herself at her new set-up with gusto. There's little room for subtlety or restraint: drum patterns and motifs scatter in an out of earshot at a pace that's hard to keep up with. The opening cut, "Polarity," falls somewhere between techno and a grime instrumental, the tough drum hits soon merging with a catchy synth hook. On "Par Amour," fizzing snares and visceral bass weave into a kind of intoxicating funk, the vocals reminiscent of Mike Banks' work with Davina. (The vocal, credited to Lovie, actually came from the Fat Acapellas Vol. 1: The Detroit Divas, an LP on Banks' Submerge label).
Every track on Joy One Mile overflows with ideas. Elements appear and disappear, basslines kick in unexpectedly, melodies emerge from chaotic beds of drums. The interplay between the scuffed drums and crystalline synths on "Elite Excel" is arguably the album's most bewitching moment. "Fascination" makes you wait a full three minutes before utopian chords kick in, while "Natives" bounces around with the awkward, angular energy of Fad Gadget. It was once said that part of the magic of Terrence Dixon's music is that you end up right where you started. Stellar OM Source is the complete opposite: you start with your feet on the ground and finish up somewhere beyond the stars.
02. Par Amour
03. The Range
05. Elite Excel
07. Natives/Most Answers Never Unveiled