London-based electronic producer Yamaneko emerged in 2014 with his acclaimed debut album ‘Pixel Wave Embrace’, which saw him drawing together elements of chiptunes, New Age music and techno and became something of a culty classic thanks to its curiously fragile and gentle approach. In the years since then, Yamaneko’s gone on to release two more subsequent albums through the Local Action label, and more recently he’s collaborated alongside Mr Mitch on the more grime oriented Yaroze Dream Suite.
On the heels of last year’s mini-album ‘Spa Commissions’, this latest download only EP ‘Afterglow’ collects together five new tracks from Yamaneko, and he describes it as being “his darkest and fullest release to date”. Opening track ‘Afterglow’ provides the calm before the storm as ambient synth trails glimmer in the void alongside the subtle murmuring of sampled water, though there’s a brooding undertone in the form of the dark bass synths that spiral out into the foreground, their sheeny textures calling to mind both Namlook and the Berlin School.
By contrast, ‘Second Encounter’ emerges out of a crash of percussive tones and stuttered female vocal samples before curiously trancey surging synth riffs get digitally treated into echoing phased layers, their overdriven textures adding a tense urgent undercurrent as vast throbbing beats suddenly kick into action, only to suddenly drop away just as quickly against a background rush of gauzy reverb.
‘Oslo House Sunrise 4K’ meanwhile offers up a glimmer of rich sunlight, as distant delay-treated waves echo out against ringing harmonic tones and the sort of serenely arpeggiated sequences you’d associate with early ‘Ultraworld’ era Orb, only for ‘Unreachable Feeling’ to reintroduce the turmoil as surging trancey synths build into a wall of echoing ambience, as electronic blips and chattering birdcalls rise into the foreground, the arpeggiated sequences becoming reversed upon themselves, taking on curiously Middle Eastern-tinged muezzin tunings before they phase off into the darkness. With ‘Afterglow’, Yamaneko succeeds in crafting compelling and difficult to categorise music with unresolved turmoil at its heart.