- Printed on the sleeve of Contra Blood, Daniel Koehler's new 12-inch for Berceuse Heroique, is the line "THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THERE." Sure enough, it's a fitting entry point for these three tracks, which all look backwards for inspiration. But instead of simply returning to the past, Koehler cherry picks some choice sounds and ideas to color in his futurist techno hybrids. Where video game samples in electronic music are often used to evoke those pixelated bits of nostalgia, "Contra Blood" and "Flammarion Beach" render their blippy synths and FX into almost unrecognizable forms.
Like its namesake, the title track is hectic and deadly, searing the dance floor with its fragmented jungle rhythms, blown-out sub drops and ghastly shrieks. The tension in that one is less about the sounds of a frantic video game than the joyful panic of playing one. "Flammarion Beach" follows suit, albeit in a more fun flurry of neon streaks and high-speed propulsion. You could imagine the loopy arpeggiation Koehler throws over the top being lifted from some classic racing arcade game, though how it works in lockstep with the rolling drum pattern overshadows any outside references. Only "Rotating Rupees" sounds wholly derivative. It could easily be mistaken for a soundtrack cue from a romantic Final Fantasy cut scene on some magical seaside, but it works just fine at the end of Contra Blood. After all the mayhem and excitement, it's rewarding to sit back and take in the surroundings.
A1 Contra Blood
B1 Flammarion Beach
B2 Rotating Rupees