Artist: Stark’s Pond
Release Date: 2014 Sept 30
License: CC BY-SA
Label: United Studios Corporation (USC)
So, I’ve been wandering the intertubes again, and I’ve come up with another netlabel that I was unfamiliar with, but has a surprising body of output. United Studios Corporation is a Moscow, Russian based electronic music netlabel that has been in existence since August 1st, 2005, however the origins of the label go all the way back to 1996 (you can read all about their history on their website). After finding Tunguska EMS earlier this year, I was surprised to find a label that appeared to be similar, but with over 230 releases. Fortunately, I can say that the two labels are more different than they are similar, as exemplified on Stark’s Pond Origin.
Stark’s Pond Origin
‘Origin’ opens up this release from Stark’s Pond, and I was a bit worried. It’s a blatant dance track that for some reason reminded me of Rick Wakeman’s Rhapsodies album. I think even Rick would agree that wasn’t one of the highlights of his career. And I was thinking that this was just not going to go well if this was the tone-setter track for this release. Fortunately, I was soon to discover it wasn’t.
The second track, ‘West’ is a much more downtempo style tack that quickly helped me forget about the opening track. Although still employing some dance-able elements, this track makes broader use of sequencing, and has a nice light, almost lilting melody. It almost has the feeling of a power-ballad type song that would be an excellent closer for a concert.
But, it was ‘Monkey’ the third track that really opened up the range of this recording. Mixing Berlin School synthesizer textures with a rhythm track similar to something from Massive Attack. But while it starts there, it doesn’t stay within that groove, looped drums give way to drum sequences, and synth lines soar into the distance during the bridge.
And that’s when it hit me: this is the hallmark that separates USC from Tunguska EMS. Tunguska focuses on more current genres of electronic music, like ambient and Jungle. USC appears to try to bridge or intermix old school and new styles of electronica. Some of the experiments in this area are not always successful (another track that didn’t work well for me was ‘Beholder’), but the experiment is the point. The result is what you make of it.
So, I’m off to a start with another recently discovered label: United Studios Corporation (aka USC). Unlike Tunguska EMS, they seem to be a bit more focused on experimenting with mixing old and new electronic styles. Origin from Stark’s Pond is a bouncy, bright and fun release that illustrates this idea well: sometimes these experiments work, sometimes they don’t… But when they work, they are excellent. Most of the tracks on this release fall into the excellent category.