- Meakusma are a Brussels-based collective who put on club nights and sound design workshops. With a series of three limited run 12-inches, they have now broadened their banner to include the Meakusma label. Each release so far has featured relatively well-known producers alongside ultra-underground ones. What all the tracks on Meakusma releases have in common is an accomplished disdain for stylistic conventions that would make them easily identifiable as house or techno. (House beats on chugging minimal/techno numbers are common, although this is never a hard-and-fast rule.)
The easiest comparison is probably the equally-limited releases on Workshop. That label also puts out records that eschew easy inclusion in one sub-genre or another: Instead, like Meakusma, the focus is on a stripped-down form of what RA's Peter Chambers has simply called "groove-based electronic music."
The Ukranian producer Vakula is on that ultra-underground side with "We Shall Dance," which starts messily until a friendly house beat emerges, albeit one garnished by a host of loose elements, some of which sound like another record being mixed in out of phase. German duo Immer.Chic's "The End Of Eternity" is straighter. Whispered synths and vocal snippets fade in and out, before ghostly breakdowns pivot things in one slightly unexpected direction and another.
Move D & Benjamin Brunn turn in one of their weakest productions on the flip. The teasing hint of groove tying together the minimal/ambient stylings together isn't strong enough to give any feeling of progression to "Vorhaus," while Even Tuell fares better with "Thanden Strakk," which is plodding, sparse and engrossing. (It's probably the standout here.)
Meakusma have stuck their heads into adventurous waters with the Rüts mini-compilations, with mixed results. All four tracks on this latest share a need to confound, and sometimes do so too well. Tracks that are happy just to move from side to side, instead of forward, run the risk of alienating the listener, and that happens here more than it should. That said, these enigmatic productions captivate as often as they fall flat, and reward attentive and repeated listening.
A1 Immer.Chic - The End of Eternity
A2 Even Tuell - Thanden Strakk
B1 Vakula - We Shall Dance
B2 Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Vorhaus