Listencorp review image of with my friends by reversed reference

…with my friends

Reversed Reference


Liam Murphy

November 5, 2019

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

A collaborative effort from Reversed Reference and Greystar begins the aptly named album …with my friends. A brooding piano loop…

moves in a sporadic, pulsing motion hidden under a slowly growing blanket of crackling fuzz. Whispered voices converse under the thick cloak of noise as bassy feedback wavers. The voices seem to crawl over each other, no sense of what they are saying can be captured, and there’s no indication that they are talking to each other. However the levels at which their speech is delivered infer secrecy, Reversed Reference and Greystar seem to purposely seclude the listener from the outset. The feedback that grows aggressively throughout the track also creates feelings of unease for the duration of the song’s runtime. 

Decision Deciphered brings the same sort of feedback as the first track. Only this time it’s nestled into jarring, IDM-inspired percussion. A heavy bass drones onward creating a definitive sense of rhythm within the song. Clattering percussive elements produce a crowded soundscape, a lead section interjects slightly, catching our attention with its movements. Reversed Reference allows us a glimpse of something human in a sound bite before plunging us back into the throng of intricately produced sound. The strong lead part transforms into an unpredictable, 8-bit veneer as the song fades away. From the very first two tracks, the listener can see that the artist has a technical mastery over his creation of sound and atmosphere, and this understanding only grows as the album continues.

macro begins with a collage of vocals and percussion that gradually builds into a full sound. A shallow synth part guides us through the sharp percussion. A jagged and overwhelming bass sound squelches its way to the forefront of the track as we begin to really get a feel for the producers dexterity. Reversed Reference successfully creates an infectious rhythm with a set of dangerous teeth, employing carefully crafted synthwork and sampling of both percussive and vocal sounds.

styro’s percussion inches forward through an electronic sludge. Again, beautiful synth lines crash like waves on an intricately robotic shore of moving rhythm. The bass falls in with it, as the drum sounds become ever more alien and engaging. A beautifully played synth solo takes the foreground, prancing across the song with imaginative scales and trills. Vocals can barely be heard, but Reversed Reference’s sparing use of singing so far is incredibly effective. Everything that is a part of the undeniable rhythm is allowed a space to be heard and cherished. 

Another collaborative effort, (this time with V//Tomo) begins with the ringing bell of a train station, and a tinny speaker playing a looped motif. A scream, suddenly digitally torn apart brings us into a lush and deep hook. Delayed synth bells scatter rhythmically throughout; a warm sample drives the prominent sound of the track. Expertly-placed, sampled voices jump out suddenly every now and again. Hazy synths spin and twirl in and out of resonance. The two artists fit together too perfectly. A beautiful synergy of deep, throbbing sound and intricate and incisive high-end melody and percussion keep the listener engaged. We lose the melody to rain and thunder momentarily. The glittering synths float around the sky for a little while before waltzing back around to our vantage point. A scene of intricate and beautiful detail is created. The song is a rich and rewarding listen.

soft begins with more thunder. An intimidating, energised synth sparks in front of the listener. Another riffing synth spins and dives randomly in between the deep instances of bass. It sounds a bit like an improvisation exercise for the artist, but still the sounds created impress and invite the listener into a beautifully textured world.

give it up invites cysteke into the gradually growing roster of collaborators. Both artists provide a heavy and instantly effective beat with melancholy synths hanging on the periphery. Again, with every percussive break, we now here the unmistakeable undulations of Reversed Reference keeping us tuned in. Another sparse but effective use of vocals decorates the track. Duelling lead synths paint a halcyon pattern on the hazy and full sound of the instrumentation. As a guitar pokes through the sound, we realise that the tunes and melodies that the album consists of are all tinged with the solemn aesthetic that we would associate with emotive band music. Reversed Reference boldly infuses the electronic landscapes with something pure and honest, feeding melodies through a complex selection of midi and synth formats.

this is the starts with a tumbling percussive sound wandering aimlessly through the stereo field. A small sample joins in, and gradually heavy bass and snare sounds make themselves known as well. Slowly the track grows and grows. Glittery samples revolve rhythmically as another infectious lead synth becomes more apparent. Reversed Reference drops out the melodic elements we’ve become to comfortable with and integrates strange, one-time percussive elements, keeping us on our toes. The dynamic nature of the soundscape presented still requests that we listen carefully so as not to miss anything. The bass aspects employed by the artist rip through the instrumentation with such delightful power. Tape delayed noises crowd the wider areas of the track, creating a rich and detailed experience. The artist’s use of imaginative percussive elements enables the song to run for an extended amount of time, without losing its sheen or excitement.

The fourth and final collaboration comes in the form of an 8-minute track entitled monochrome death. Reversed Reference provides repetitive and cold, marching drums tinged with metallic characteristics as Our Vision‘s guitar work eases into view. Heavy distorted noise marches alongside deep bass drum hits. Coming to understand the artist’s processes now, one knows that this will be a slow build of a track. Small, whistling melodies begin to peel off either side of the guitar, still pinned down with heavy gain. A clearer, shimmering guitar rings out either side of the droning noise. Reversed Reference strategically reinstates bass and certain rhythmic elements where needed as the track builds. The secondary guitar now smoulders and burns in the searing heat of the production. A heavily compressed hi-hat begins to spit out at us. And just as the track slowly clambered to the fore, it’s myriad aspects rescind from the listener. All that is left is what started the track, as Reversed Reference rips up the once clear robotic hits creating a whirlwind of obscure sounds.

The album ends (apart from the bonus remix) with until next time. A synth swims about in shallow, running water. A multitude of voice samples bid us farewell ‘until next time’. An ambivalent glowing sample repeats behind the voices as a slowly rising hi-hat gives way to a full drumbeat that shakes the foundations of the track. A voice informs us we have been listening to Reversed Reference radio, and we take solace in the song title, and the friendly voices greeting us at the exit. The listener feels safe in the knowledge that this imaginative venture by the artist and his companions isn’t to be the definitive end.

This conclusive-sounding track isn’t even the end of the album in its entirety! The closing word is handed to Vinyl Dial who transforms macro, overlaying strange unpredictable synths on top of the rumbling, bottom-heavy track. The remix also includes a plucked bassline seemingly inspired by metal music rhythms. Vinyl Dial provides a brief but welcome reimagining of the abrasive third track. The energy of which, instead of being fed directly through a growling bass line, is shared between descending synth bells and double bass drum hits.

Original to the very last, Reversed Reference calls upon a number of genres for this collaborative album. The result is indeed a little something for every listener to whet their appetite.

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