- Listening to Basic Channel in 2014, you're likely to be struck by a particular thought: it's crazy how similar this stuff sounds today. More than perhaps any other style of music, dub techno has held on to its original palette—in this case, one designed nearly 20 years ago by Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald, visionary producers responsible for the unlikely marriage of techno and dub reggae. It's striking to hear a genre's blueprints laid out so clearly, and this inevitably adds authority to these records today.
But that's only part of what makes reissues like Q Loop worthwhile. As many of Basic Channel's fans will tell you, the duo's music has done more than stand the test of time—it's remained the best of its kind. Q Loop features three tracks that originally appeared on Basic Channel's 1995 compilation BCD, with the title track appearing for the first time in its "full length" (13 minutes and 54 seconds, nearly triple the original cut). This one, like most music by Basic Channel and its various offshoots, is an exercise in classic minimalism. A short but deceptively complex pattern repeats ad infinitum—throbbing bassline, quivering chords, lots of complicated panning. As it plays, nothing changes, but the richness of its composition comes into focus. It's less a thing that happens and more a place you inhabit—a cold, grey, underwater place, but one that's also soothing in its own way.
The other two tracks are even more austere. "Q1.2" is little more than two chords, shimmering like a mirage and melting into one another, eventually joined by an almost imperceptible bass pulse. "Mutism" is more sound art than music, a thin gauze of hissing fuzz shot through with piercing high frequencies. Sparing as they are, both are easy to lose yourself in, which points to Basic Channel's genius: by rejecting any and all possible embellishment, they made music that was timeless and incredibly immersive.
A1 Q-Loop (Full Length)