- It's fitting that L.I.E.S. 100 comes from Terekke, an artist who's been synonymous with the label from the start. In interviews, Ron Morelli, the label's founder, has given a simple answer as to why he started the label: his friends were making great tracks that wouldn't have otherwise come out. These days, though, L.I.E.S. draws from a wider pool of artists than the hardware-oriented scene in early '10s Brooklyn. Morelli is now based in Paris, and DJs around the world nearly every weekend. Tsuzing, from China, and Ngly, from Argentina, have released key albums on the label. But L.I.E.S. continues on, post-hype, with roughly the same MO—to support the endeavours of dance music misfits. Terekke has used this platform to construct a shadowy, evocative world that snaps into focus on Plant Age.
So what makes Terekke so special? For starters, he takes his time. Even in the midst of L.I.E.S.'s busiest years—the label put out more than 50 records over 2013 and 2014—Terekke, real name Matt Gardner, has limited himself to, at most, a yearly check-in and a few remixes or collaborations. Despite this limited output, he's produced several enduring cuts—both tracks from his 2011 debut 12-inch, Damn / Pf Pf Pass, "Amaze," from 2013's YYYYYYYYYY EP and "Wav2," from the digital-only ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°), to name a few.
Each of those tracks introduced a slightly different sound world, pieces of a puzzle completed by Plant Age. "BB2" combines the spectral soul sampling that defined "Amaze" with the head-down dream house sound of "Pf Pf Pass." The new age ambience heard on ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) is felt here in more subtle ways. "Mix 91," for instance, bears much in common with dub techno, yet he sidesteps the genre's confines with a loose arrangement and chord clusters that hint at ambient music's beatific stasis.
There's also an uncommon musicality at play here. A lilting piano solo sneaks in early on "Need U," a track on which the toms don't pound so much as drip. On the intro, "Tack," Gardner builds up a wall of hand-played Rhodes parts, breezily improvising a conversation with himself. The album's only ambient interlude, "Padi," sounds like the intro for an OG tech house gem as reimagined by GAS. Many artists might have run with just one of these ideas for an entire LP, but Gardner floats from one style to another while only sounding like himself.
03. Need U
05. Mix 91