Here we go again. Kontakt. Excellent. And grad_u! Almost not a surprise. If you look at the catalogue of Kontakt releases and ask anyone that knows anything about Dub Techno who is missing on that list the answer could only have been “grad_u”. Well – here he is. With “A Tale Of Two Stars”.
I beg to differ though. It’s five stars. The first one being “Betelgeuse” on the upper side of the flat black twelve inch universe. Isn’t it funny how most of us will know the name (even if some of us think it’s that weird character in a Tim Burton movie) – and not really know much about it. A star, right?
Yep. And a big one too. Part of Orion, the one on the upper left. A red supergiant. Nice tag! One of the largest stars we can see without a telescope, and “usually” top ten in brightness. Interesting, that addition of “usually”. Betelgeuse is not one of those steadily shining stars, its brightness varies considerably.
What really doesn’t vary at all is the quality of grad_u’s work. Aleksandr Martinkevič seems to have been out there doing his thing ever since Betelgeuse wasn’t a supergiant yet. His trip to “Begelgeuse” is classic grad_u – so solid and effective, so well done that you wonder if this much class ever gets boring somehow. But no, it doesn’t. Forward, always, let the chords send you all the way to Orion, no need to stop on the way.
The second star is the one on the other side of the universe. If we can actually call it a star. “Hesperus” is the God of the Evening Star. And the Evening Star is Venus. Which is a planet. But that’s okay. If you’re the God of Venus, man, you definitely are a star.
If you liked it around “Betelgeuse” you will love it in the company of “Hesperus”. Twelve and a half minutes of massively sweeping Dub Techno smoothness. There’s so much going on around Venus with all the different synth layers and patterns orbiting that you almost don’t notice how the super classy kick keeps things moving more than anything. After those two tracks it’s clear that Martinkevič is a star in his own right. Which increases the count to three.
But the universe with its spiralling grooves has more to offer. Drop through the black hole in the middle and take the short cut to a parallel world created by the fourth star here – Oracy, or Thomas Wendel, who usually hangs around that other magnificent galaxy called Mojuba. His “Fractio Resolutio Retake” of “Betelgeuse” rocks the belt of Orion even harder and provides a more direct and less rounded version.
Star number five? Kontakt. Great label. And it’s probably fair to say that the addition of grad_u to the list of artists is all the proof anyone might have still needed. Five star EP.
Release for review:
GRAD_U – A TALE OF TWO STARS – KONTAKT – KNT-22