Over the last three years or so Georgian electronic producer Gacha Bakradze has issued several 12” releases on labels including 2nd Drop and Space Hardware, with ‘Restless’ now offering up his debut album, as well as the first full-length collection to come from the latter label. There’s a distinctly post-progressive house feel to a lot of this deeply textured collection, and while the 4/4 rhythms often approach danceable tempos, the emphasis here frequently falls more upon hazy after-hours atmospheres stained with melancholic soul. There’s also a strong aesthetic kinship to be found here with the likes of the Kompakt label, given the emphasis upon extremely refined, ambient-tinged techno / house explorations. Opening track ‘For Silence’ certainly kicks things off in beatless territory as wafting synth pads build into a swelling wall of warmth against the distant background chatter of dubbed-out found sounds in a manner reminiscent of the The Orb, before ‘Navel’ sees Bakradze teasing the energy levels up slightly with the addition of cold, almost Italo-esque bass arpeggios, but still nothing in the way of a beat.
After this fairly slowburning opening, ‘An Evening With John’ finally sees a shuffling midtempo house rhythm locking into place against bendy analogue synths and shimmering ambient chords, the entire track swelling with a sense of brooding optimism that calls to mind a more sheeny and pared back take on Caribou’s wide-eyed landscapes. Elsewhere, ‘Sad Arpeggios’ offers up one of this album’s more muscular dancefloor excursions as Italo-disco hued arpeggiated sequences ripple against crisp 4/4 kickdrums and handclaps, clattering percussion fills worming their way out of the woodwork before the entire track suddenly breaks down into an ambient midsection of glittering melodic notes and blurred out background tones, only to regather its energies and resume its streamlined propulsion. While I have to confess to not being familiar with Bakradze prior to hearing this album, ‘Restless’ marks him out as a name to watch alongside far more high profile dance / techno figures. Gorgeous stuff indeed.