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June - Cytheria

These Days

Why do we keep returning to the 80’s for inspiration? Well, if you’re a regular listener to Intergalactic FM or maybe frequent London’s World Unknown night, the fact remains that there is an incredible amount of relatively undiscovered electronic music from this period. Belgian new beat, all manner of music now clumsily titled “minimal wave”, an absolute glut of italo disco that still is worth digging for, proto-industrial and anything else that featured drum machines - a continuing stream of music that is being re-evaluated. It serves to further the point that the period of 1982 - 1986 was a true crucible for the explosion that happened with the advent of Chicago, Detroit and acid house.

Perhaps more crucially an element of naivety, in particular with Italo, is a raw component that some feel we cannot recreate today. There was an element in this music that was unknowing - “an innocence of intent” referred to by William Bennett in a recent interview. Likewise, earnest recreations of Chicago records, very much the rage today, seek to glean or extract a certain element of purity in their sound that never manages to match that level of intensity from 25 years ago or so. Thankfully it is the very functionality of dance music that comes to the rescue here - no-one really cares a great deal about how original a record is when they’re having a night out.

Greek producer June kicked off his discography with a release on Jamal Moss’s Mathematics label and courtesy of These Days, has an album. It’s an impressive beast in some respects, sonically rich and full of texture. Cytheria is full of acid squelches, timely snares and rich synths across its compositions; a veritable lexicon of sounds of the aforementioned eighties. Opener “Cytheria” is an absolute ringer for O’Gar’s “Playback Fantasy”, but has enough charm to get away with it. After that though, apart from the interlude of “original heartbreak”, the album consists mostly of moody 120 bpm acid and downtempo techno -  “Cube Runner” in particular stands out.

There are lots of producers harnessing these old sounds and whilst these tracks will appeal to DJs, it’s hard to escape the feeling that we’re going over ground covered often before, albeit in a refined manner. This issue resurfaces again throughout “Cytheria” and whilst the album is eminently listenable, there’s little in the way of true individuality to consider further exploration. It’s important to show at least some unique aspect to your compositions, especially when deciding to plunder old aesthetics. “She Lost Control” does merge “cold wave” style frenetic disco with subtle acid tinges and as such it’s one of the strongest tracks. At the end DJ Sprinkles lends his own particular brand of nostalgia with an Apache break led Balearic-style mix of “Lost Area”.

It’s inevitable that we plunder the past - for one, there is still an enormous amount of music that on a personal level we’ve yet to hear. Musical epiphanies are still one of the most powerful forms of cultural excitement that one can experience, especially when it’s related to genres that never became particularly popular.  “Cytheria” does illuminate the past in a slick manner, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s not looking anywhere else.

Buy at Clone 

Toby Frith

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