Lisbon-based DJ and electronic producer Inês Borges Coutinho is best known as both the co-founder of Rádio Quântica and boss of Naive Records, and for the last seven years she’s been releasing EPs under her Violet alias on labels including One Eyed Jacks and Paraiso. While she’s previously been associated with a breakbeat-oriented sound, this debut album on Dark Entries ‘Bed Of Roses’, described by Coutinho as “as sort of childhood memories diary” veers off in a more diverse range of directions.
‘Tears in 1983’ opens proceedings in darkly atmospheric territory as ominous fuzzed-out synth sweeps prowl against delicately twinkling treated piano keys, before furious breakcore rhythms suddenly erupt during the track’s second half, the resulting effect calling to mind one of John Carpenter’s synth scores being hijacked by Venetian Snares halfway through.
Title track ‘Bed Of Roses’ meanwhile wanders out into languid witch-house meets IDM territory as sparse stuttering snare kicks punctuate a calming backdrop of vaporous synth textures and trailing piano arrangements, the backing melodies gradually rising up into cinematic layers as the track progresses, before ‘They Don’t Wanna Know’ changes pace entirely, opting for the sort of electro-pop backing of synths and drum machines that you’d associate with early Madonna as whispered vocal harmonies flit back and forth against the stiffly programmed rhythms and glittery keyboard arrangements.
If it’s perhaps this album’s most overtly retro-pop nostalgic moment, elsewhere ‘Spectral’ hits the accelerator, sending things off into hammering industrial techno that goes full panel beaters as distorted noise bursts clatter against urgently pulsing electronics and seemingly every last remaining bit of air gets sucked out of the mix, only to be replaced by strobing acid squelches. It’s indicative of the sorts of sharp stylistic jumps that characterise this strong yet unpredictable debut album from Violet.