Title: Panopticon EP
Release Date: 2014 June 8
Genre: Downtempo / Drum-n-Bass
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Bump Foot
Rmine’s Panopticon is a display piece for several different styles of electronic music. It makes for a nice retreat from all the experimental noisy electronic and ambient music that seems to be dominating the Creative Commons scene these days.
It’s an interesting choice of titles for this release, as a Panopticon is either a prison in which all the cells can be seen from the center, or a room for the exhibition of novelties. But perhaps most interesting is the definition used in astronomy: a kind of telescope and microscope combined. (Definitions from Wordnik.)
It’s easy to see where this is an EP designed to be a display of novelties. That is, each piece is as different from each as they can possibly be.
‘Danish Wharf’ opens this release, with the thumping bass of a deep techno mix surrounding simple, enticing keyboard counterpoint lines. While I normally don’t care for a straight thumping bass line and hand claps, I have to say that this track doesn’t make itself annoying in the way most techno music does for me. And, when the keyboards take things back over part way through, it all feels natural. Like the order between the beat and slightly jazzy arpeggio lines fits well together.
‘John The Revelator’ begins by quoting the Son House version of the song:
You know God walked down in the cool of the day
Called Adam by his name
And he refused to answer
Because he’s naked and ashamed
And later in the piece Rmine quotes:
You know Christ had twelve apostles
And three he led away
He said, “Watch with me one hour,
’till I go yonder and pray.”
It’s a really interesting way of reaching back into the delta blues, and setting the in a new style that is at once very respectful of the original work, and very fitting to this time period. It’s apparent that Rmine’s love of these older blues recordings informs his current work.
‘Panopticon’ is a more of a drum-n-bass style work. Very angular melodies that make it feel like you are in the middle of an octagon looking out at all the walls around you. Looking at images in a gallery, or at a collection (as the name implies).
‘Crimea River’ was for me, the most surprising piece on this release. It features an earthy, melodic acoustic guitar set against the sound of running water as the central texture for the song. The feeling of sitting along the bank of a river as the sun is setting is extremely strong in this piece. It’s just a relaxing, flowing melodic piece of music.
‘Mayim’ starts with a quote of the Israeli folk song But it is quickly taken over by a dub style mix with a strong piano line. It seems almost like a bit of humor to take an Israeli folk song and interject a dub mix on top of it. Something of a curiosity, just like every other piece on this release.
I definitely have a great admiration for this release. There is something about an artist that can reach into several cultures (American Blues, Isreali Folk) and work them into electronic pieces with a certainty and clearness of vision. More so I am impressed with the production of this work, there isn’t a miss-step on this release.
The only piece that isn’t quite to my liking is ‘Danish Wharf’, but that’s only because I don’t care for techno music all that much. But, that being said, I didn’t find Rmine’s version of techno to be annoying like I do so often.
This release gets a recommendation from me. And hopefully it’s the first of many that Rmine will be releasing.