Ralph Cumbers, AKA Bass Clef, began his new label, Open Hand Real Flames, with two releases: a sinewy live jam and an EP from the Rotterdam-based producers Erik Slinge and Dirk De Akkers. The duo call the abstract club music they make "Q." It bears such a strong resemblance to Cumbers' own work that I assumed it was a sneaky new alias from him. Q, as presented on the duo's genre-blending debut EP, Nieuwe Qniversum, is a lively fusion of modern club music with influences from the electronic avant-garde.
You can hear the influence of the UK's left-leaning dance floors on the lengthy "Qristal Regenboog," where a punchy beat staggers underneath synth leads that wheel, zap and whine. But the duo's music has a clinical atmosphere, all blank space and smooth surfaces. The bass blankets the low-end like a cloud, and the duo sculpt unpredictable melodies that feel alive. The wobbly leads make "Echt LeQQer" sound like a Mark Fell track made of blubber. They delight in extreme sound manipulation elsewhere. The chime loop on "QerQloQQen" is mercilessly ripped apart and reassembled, a move more suited to an experimental artist than a dance floor act. But that's part of the reason why Nieuwe Qniversum is such a compelling debut.
Tracklist01. Erik Slinge - Ijs BloQjes
02. Dirk De Akkers - Echt LeQQer
04. Qristal Regenboog