Listencorp review image of endorphins by various artists


Various Artists


Liam Murphy

September 27, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Music can command a tremendous amount of power over our emotions. A certain trill or integrating of sonic atmosphere can sway our feelings considerably. A release from Edited Arts celebrating mood regulating chemicals, explores the persuasive power of music on our feelings.

The muddy hum of distorted pads begins terribilis’ Having To Come Back Down. The sounds breathe an unrestrained life into a world that slowly blurs into focus. As these pads continue to dive and dart from one side to the next, a voice extends itself toward us. ‘The only bad part about flying is having to come back down to the fucking world’, spoken by a young child, the line seems to convey the inevitability of mood regulation. Any trough in our mood will eventually lead to a recalibration back to a more positive outlook. But unfortunately, the same can be said the other way, with any moment of ecstasy resulting in a gradual decline to a more ambivalent or possibly even morose feeling. As we ponder this, the artist begins to smash heavy jungle samples into the instrumentation. Every so often, a hammering kick drum and bass sound slams everything toward the floor of the track. terribilis’ production seems to reflect this idea of equilibrium. The pads swoop low, but seem desperate to escape somewhere more euphoric, but are kept restricted, hunkered down by the incessant percussion.

A trio of percussive sounds begin Cradle 2 from cassius select. A solid tuned kick, sibilant snare sound and hollow sound providing a tom-like contribution. As we move through, the sounds broaden joined by a stabbing vocal impact, it flies out into the space of the track with a great, suddenly unrestrained force. A wobbly noise peels off every bar or so, with an almost comical portamento glide that mocks the didactic nature of the drums. cassius select swipes back in with resonant bassline that hits and slinks back into the muffled lower end. Around the midpoint, more vocal samples escape the artist’s furnace of sound. They escape in short, sharp bursts falling into rhythm. But the bass inevitably disintegrates them with a heavy hand.

A call and response begins between kick and tom on Body Prison. An atmosphere is built from the whirring noises careering around an ethereal space. ‘This body is a prison’, a voice says in a whispered tone, we speed up toward a precipice and blast full speed into the main part of Hard Fantasy’s contribution. As similar percussion booms, a sharp lead synth appears, a hypnotic siren shooting an electrical energy through the track. One almost imagines a synapse sparking with life as the powerful synth continues to pulse, a shining light repeating amidst the darkness of the mind. The sound rescinds for a minute, leaving space for the artist to build a shadowy atmosphere, only to return a few notches higher in pitch.

Emily Glass‘s Hollow Butterfly Charm erupts in a cacophony of noise not unlike the soundbite at the beginning of an irritating radio show. As we peel through these layers, a small, fragile nucleus is found at the centre. A glassy bell tune plays out, like a slow-moving music box. Each note bounces with icy reverb off of its surroundings. It is hard to decode what the artist is going for here. But one could theorise that Emily’s track explores the melancholy happiness one may feel when looking down at a trinket or charm that conjures up memories. There does seem to be layers of glacial sound unfurling throughout the track, possibly the thick film of haze that disintegrates upon seeing an object or ornament from a loved one.

Reverberating piano flutters across an increasingly expansive space at the beginning of Lighght‘s Excruciating Brightness (Ode To DJ Netflex). The producer doesn’t let too much time go by before revealing an authoritarian bass tone that hits against the fairly gentle piano. Trickling hi hats lead the bass drum into a formulated rhythm, accompanied by a heavy, screeching snare. Lighght sends heavy-handed percussion crashing into the listener, slowly building up a more melodic narrative with a squelching bassline. From near the very beginning of the artist’s contribution to the compilation, the sibilant texture of the background noise is galvanised by the bass.

Aggressive production continues into d0us‘s prec1. Though this one hits with a little more of a drony persistence. The backdrop of the track is a wall of resonant bass pressed right up against the foreground. A kick begins to play out a pacy beat but does nothing to quell the incessant buzzing d0us sets up at the very beginning. A bleating, sharp synth lead screams out under the general pressure exerted by the track. It’s melody would be fairly euphoric, if it weren’t made of the same jagged grains as everything else. A blaring three-part melody causes everything to become a little more fluid before a kick drum hammers against everything, shattering the sound into millions of little pieces once again.

The title of furious styles’ song is left playing on repeat from an old speaker, admit it, you wish i was here. Two voices diverge, the voice whispering the track’s title falls into silence and we start to hear another crying. A maniacal laugh as an uncertain environment is set up. A bass drum begins to sound out an unstable, stumbling rhythm. The scene continues to swirl in and out of focus, as the rhythm finds its feet a little more. Things spin out as furious styles brings this strange atmosphere bubbling to the top of the mix again. The titular sample is meshed into the shroud of sound as the percussion pushes back through again. Snares rattle randomly like suddenly firing chemical signals. furious styles’ track becomes unpredictable and hostile as the artist sends gunshot percussions toward the listener in a rapid salvo, before leaving us underneath swelling rainclouds.

Shelley Parker‘s Tramadol Rolls sends out alien tubular sounds before ingratiating us in an odd location. The confident American accent and repeated phrases sound very much like the soundbites from an arcade machine. However, our exact positioning in the space is unclear, it sounds as though we’re hidden, tucked away somewhere strange. The disorientating nature of the track is no surprise with the artist referencing Tramadol in the title. Ominous, high-pitched pads float over to us carrying with them a sickly green glow, muffled environments reveal themselves and are snatched away just as we begin to focus on their contents. Everything shifts with a hallucinatory amorphousness.

Legrina has established percussion from the offset. Tinny snare hits augmenting the momentous beat of a kick and vocal sample. DJ Tess builds up expectation, to then override it all as the mix is overrun with an almost supersonic, warbling bass tone. As decimating as the tone is, DJ Tess recovers the other aspects of the track, the beat pressing the track onward. The bass moves like some omnipotent Playstation 1 villain, gliding snakily in the background before stunning the listener into paralysis with a rapidly ricocheting onslaught.

Jaeho Hwang brings more discordant chemical activity on Jangdan1-Pyong, as notes that do not quite fit together tonally play out of a glassy piano. A steady, ominous tom drum is joined by a myriad of bass impacts. The artist keeps things tied very close the repeating 4/4 rhythm, with some kicks accented by toms and others by cymbal crashes. The artist achieves a beautiful, unique texture with tuned percussive sounds that hang together in a rhythmic melody. Multiple kicks seem to gallop like horses when Jaeho Hwang gives a little space in the beat. But moving past the midpoint, the artist fires an unceasing torrent of impacts toward us. We move slowly into the realms of the gabber and other intense repetitive music. Again, the percussive hits that seem to trickle from the main impact create this fantastic galloping momentum. Another flurry of steel cymbals brings the onslaught to a close.

Jasper Jarvis‘ takes the penultimate spot on Endorphins. Birth begins with streaming synth notes cavorting around, an aqueous film covering all of them making them translucent and glittery. The melody is fairly unsettling, joined by percussive hits and a slowly forming synthetic dissonance. At a certain point that main melody is pulled apart becoming strange moaning fragments, and we are left with screaming and a general electronic din. The icy tune finds a way to seep back through, now hammered by bass tones that Jasper Jarvis rains down on everything. These huge hits seem to drive the melody underground, and it permeates gradually through phased distortion and emotive pads with slow attack.

Voices bursts in with a pressurised hiss that fills the space of the track. We find ourselves amidst small writhing sounds as a deep bass and melody begin to play out beside each other. Light shines through in the form of resonant arpeggiation, the track building to an unstoppable climax. ccontrary pushes the listener over the precipice and we land mid-run, with a steady electronic beat accompanying an ascending chord progression. The arpeggiated melody favours minor chords and conveys an uncertainty, but the power of the slowly rising pitch helps everything to shine with a certain triumphant quality. A sharp synth plays out a riff laden with electro house inspiration, as the artist signs the compilation off with a quintessential electronic dance tune.

Endorphins presents a collection of artists experimenting with the theme of emotion. In each excursion, we find ourselves in a wildly different location than the last. But with every one we find mood as the focal point. Whether it be sadness illustrated through a heartfelt melody, or exhilaration found in a galvanising percussive section. Edited Arts showcase a dynamic range of electronic music on one stellar compilation.

Profits from this release will go to Black Minds Matter and Drake Music.