Rival Consoles - Overflow
June 28, 2022
Resonant keys curl inwards into a warm fuzz as Green relinquishes the first sounds of Larry Folger’s Primer. The atmosphere that begins to emerge is slightly different to that of Pure Life’s usual output. Whereas artists on the roster usually take the labels lack of prescriptivism to create epic soundscapes from the outset, Larry Folger chooses a scattering of house-y chords to begin. Wiry echoes twist behind the keys as a high frequency beat slowly makes its way out of the dark gloom. It becomes more fully formed, the heartbeat of this fluid melody beginning to show itself from behind the keys. The artist drops the bass drum out suddenly and allows the first beat of the track to be integrated. An icy, danceable beat begins. The listener nods along as this subtle atmosphere tosses and turns, glowing a little more each time an effervescent the elegant euphoria pirouettes in the midst of the rhythm. The beat drops out once again, giving the artist ample opportunity to start this beautiful reversed bassline. This repetitive movement from the low-end gives the track its life and infectiousness. Reemerging even stronger after the few seconds Larry Folger lets us float without a heavy beat hunkering us down to the floor. A line is walked between hypnotic house rhythm and the perennially engaging atmosphere that so often emerges from Pure Life. The artist integrates this beautifully subtle darkness in the first track that still allows for an incredibly rousing opener.
Yellow‘s steady bass drum sends delayed and phased debris careering round its centre. A warm pad floats to the surface of the mix. Slowly the track loosens up, the artist’s focus shifting more to the chorus of sounds ameliorating from either side of the thudding rhythm. Thick globules of synth sway from one side of the mix to the other, the tension in the track building as effortlessly as the song before it. A controlled drop into a deeper rhythm is signalled by a watery note firing out into the rippling space. Again, the rhythm is one of carefully constructed, house-inspired means, but the sounds and melodies surrounding it come from this place of deeply austere feeling. The trilling piano keys that give way to sliding synth notes. Halfway through the track a brilliantly executed change in texture has us careering even deeper into the depths of Larry Folger’s musicianship. We dive into the murky depths, greeted by echoed vocals reaching out to us from some other plane. Cascades of notes whippet through the aquatic space. Gradually the beat rejoins the melody, sounding more distant and decayed.
Red finds Larry Folger playing keys completely swallowed up by an all-encompassing echo. As if we are wandering through a dark, tiled cavern towards his performance. The echoed melodies are phased and distorted as his location shifts in front of us. A percussive section begins to drip through the cracks of echoed sound like rain. The distant notes, cradled in a perspex container continue to become clearer, more refined. Their transformations become more explicit and obvious. Tapping begins to permeate the obscuring glass as the original keys wash away. In fact, everything in the sonic vicinity begins to evaporate into the air, the artist’s use of delay creating an illusion of endless ascension. Ghostly voices begin to target our location once again. Screaming past us as they are sucked into the centre of the mix and disappear in the huge explosion of bass. The beat clears the stereo field of all else, save for the same spectral moans flying into the epicentre and disappearing. In this climactic transition is some of the most breathtaking production on the album. So much dissonance and melody is compressed into a thin tendril of slowly pushing its way away from the black hole of the throbbing bass.
Phantom percussionists hit tuned poles against the wall of a shrouded alleyway as we enter Dark. A warbling pad pushes them toward the back of the mix as a more definitive rhythm begins. The instrumentation is surprisingly blissful considering the tracks name, and the dark sounds that have proceeded. Larry Folger welcomes us incrementally into a deep, pulsing rhythm. The melody of which sounds like 90s chill garage being played in the other room. Pushing the percussive aspects to the very front of the mix, the artist creates a wonderful dynamic in the track. The pad wavering to and from the centre, joining with the unrelenting drum sequence as it strives onwards. The melody, a simple hop from one note to the other is agreeable and hypnotic. These aspects make way for a foreboding collaboration of bass and bell-like sounds, joined after a time by the omnipotent bass drum. The proliferation of high-end percussion adds to the feelings of positivity that emanate from this track. As Larry Folger breaks a for a short time to welcome back more of the melodic elements of the first half, we fall into the alluring danceability of the track.
Larry Folger keeps his instrumentation subtle for a sizeable chunk of Primer. He does not seem intent on producing an overtly dramatic atmosphere. It is the consistently impressive wielding of melody and percussion that allows the listener to dive into the project. The artist is able to curve the narrative arch of each track back to a fruitful conclusion. Larry Folger balances atmosphere and beat to create a gloomy sonic landscape that is also rhythmic and engaging.