Mike Berkley – Liking Mainstream Because Hating Mainstream is Becoming Too Mainstream (Beats Home)

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Sydney producer Mike Berkley is inspired by and inspires the creme-de-la-creme of electronic musicians, notably Daisuke Tanabe. His assisted honing and selection of Beats Home compilations Australia vs Japan and Volume Zero (who feature such artists as Westernsynthetics and Ribongia) is second only to his own masterful production.

LMBHMiBTM is an intricately crafted (and pay-as-you-please) EP as convoluted as its title, and will bring all those electronic hipsters to his yard.

Track ‘Hey Man, Awesome Track… Check Out My Track Too!’ sets the standard for the EP, truly electronic in sense of the term. It’s a menacing, plodding multi-layered synth landscape flavoured in all manners of slippery, glitchy embellishments, falling in and out of deconstruction, before relinquishing into an ethereal and spacious overtone, still coloured and accompanied by rapid glitch hits.

‘Do you Know Charlie’ changes drums and tone slightly to create a darker and hazier tone. Its intricacies sound detailed for the best of sound systems, and I can’t escape the feeling my sound system isn’t good enough for this EP. The track increases in intensity to work into ‘LMBHMiBTM’, increasing again in depth, a dark and downtempo dubstep-paced track, electric with whipping fluorescent shards of glitch skittering over deep, echoing drums travelling through space.

”Coming Soon” strips back the pace further and continues the overall menace and power of the EP. This power is set mainly in its space, and of that feeling of glitchy sound fragments becoming a visualised entity. It then coalesces and coagulates into the finale and stand-out track ‘Zephyr’, highlighting Berkley’s original and unconventional approach to electronica. It utilises space and defragmented glitch elements to follow and create new forms of beats, from 4-4 almost-psytrance tempo to a menacing half-time dirge of dirty/clean synth punching through and creating an indistinct yet clear light of sound.

This EP will both win and lose a lot of listeners in light of its complex nature, and fans of Autechre, Valance Drakes, Enig’Matik Records and Defunkt Dialekt will most appreciate its psychedelic and insidious nature. The overall composition is there too, but is rather inscrutable and complex in nature too.

At times as a listener, I found the mechanical and electronic nature to be so precise as to be just straight cold, but there’s no mid-ground with the intense LMBHMiBTM. I predict there’ll be a large underground fanbase for this artist and this is a stand-out debut release from an extremely talented and enigmatic artist.

Cover photograph: Onur Karaozbek

Link: http://beatshome.bandcamp.com/album/liking-mainstream-because-hating-mainstream-is-becoming-too-mainstream

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