Norken - Southern Soul

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  • Delsin have form for putting out this sort of music. The Southern Soul EP, like Son.Sine's Upekah and Micronism's Steps To Recovery before it, contains music initially released around the turn of millennium. As with those records, it's deeper-than-deep and ravishingly beautiful. There are differences, though. Son.Sine and Micronism were lesser-known New Zealanders whose music has lately been reappraised. Norken is Lee Norris, AKA Metamatics, a prolific and well-regarded artist. He's worked with Delsin before, on 2000's The Lost Day, but this EP is sourced from a couple of late '90s releases on other labels. They're a snapshot of the Norken sound at the time: deep house with the sleekness and machine melancholy of British chill-out and IDM, and crisp drums nodding to early minimal. The beloved title track, first released in 1998, is the gloomiest, its lilting beat drizzled with downcast rave pads and slivers of sad android melody. "More Frequencies," from Norris's debut album, Soul Static Bureau, is cheerier, though it's the stilted cheeriness of a sad person trying to put on a brave face. Norris's pitch bend wheel is the main culprit: it sends everything into queasy disarray, while pitter-patter Rhodes lines and a neat bassline play gentle call-and-response. "Shifting Towards," finally, sets two timescales against each other: the slow ocean swell of mournful pads, the tick-tock of Norris's flawless drum programming. As with the Son.Sine and Micronism reissues, all three tracks are unassuming, but their strange out-of-time aura makes them unignorable.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Southern Soul B1 More Frequencies B2 Shifting Towards