Montreal-based electronic duo Melissa Speirs and Julian Kochanowski fuse elements of IDM and analogue electro with acid techno, with an emphasis on vintage synths, drum machines and tape effects. In the absence of any preceding 12” releases, they’ve opted to charge straight out of the gate with this debut album ‘Synthase’ on Sheffield-based label Central Processing Unit.
While there’s a definite emphasis upon classic electro styles here, it’s notable just how much divergent territory the duo manage to cover over these eight tracks. Opener ‘M.O.’ kicks things off on a darkly atmospheric tip as moody analogue bass pads inject an ominous feel to the twinkling bleeps, minor key synths and dry clicking drum machine grooves that glide beneath them, the phased trails that hand in the background paying homage to Model 500’s classic nightdrive grooves as the reverbed kicks begin to gather mass.
By contrast, ‘Simulated Events’ gets more icy and Kraftwerkian, sending snapping electro kicks and weightless-sounding hi-hats floating against robotic tumbling electronic sequences and chilled, soulful melodic arrangements, in what’s easily one of the more chilled and graceful moments to be found here. It’s not all a chilled glide here though. ‘Acid Billy’ unleashes what’s easily this album’s most ferocious offering, grafting a growling distorted 303 acid line onto hammering drum machine kicks and sinister synth notes, the contorted squiggles straining like some beast struggling to escape its bindings as the 4/4 kickdrums pound and the jackhammering snares accelerate into a murderous blur.
Elsewhere, ‘Information Superhighway’ ventures out into dark EBM-laced electro as moody synths unfurl against a backbone of snapping electro rhythms and flickering bleeps, the vast walls of synths stretching off into the distance as the drum machines relax into a generous breakers’ groove. While a lot of this is electro territory that’s been well covered by now, Synthase’ manages to be a strong debut album from Biochip that promises good things for the future.