- Swamp steppin' from the Swiss collective.
- A couple minutes into the first track on Varuna's new mini-album, Mangrove Management, something sounds like a dinosaur calling to its friends in the distance. A battle cry of sorts, it welcomes you to the lush world that's about to unfold, one that plays tricks with a blend of natural sound and ingenious electronic imposters.
On that epic ten-minute opener "Rhizophora," an imposing cacophony sets the scene for a record full of life and unexpected guests. The hum of the forest floor reverberates under sticky rhythms, occasionally spooked by rattlesnake percussion. While Mangrove Management offers some heat for the dance floor, it’s mainly cloaked in a humid sound design, uninterested in functionality.
The track names and the text that adorns the record sleeve ooze sophistication, and the music does it justice. "Culex Sitiens'' laces a chugging beat with chiselled breaks, so that the end result is closer to drum and bass, though tranquilized by a half-time, 80 BPM pulse. The blissed-out centrepiece, "Avicennia," shows how beautiful the duo's music can be without percussion, before "Paleo-Drainage Channels" wraps around a stepping kick drum like poison ivy, feinting to speed up as the track rages on. Altogether it's a masterful record, one which sounds like no other artist in the scene.
02. Culex Sitiens
04. Paleo-Drainage Channels
05. Autotrophic Biomass