On Record: Minotaur Shock: Qi (Bytes)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

David Edwards returns under his Minotaur Shock pseudonym with Qi, a six-part suite recorded on an Electron Digitone synthesizer. The idea of recording an extended set of pieces on a single piece of equipment seems to be catching on during lockdown, providing inspiration for a number of bedroom-based musicians, yours truly included!

What’s the music like?

Enjoyably instinctive. Edwards was very reluctant to go back to the tracks once recorded, delivering each in one or at most two takes. It means that the music-making is very much ‘in the moment’, and ensures the cells of melody that Minotaur Shock works with are kept fresh in their development.

As Qi unfolds it becomes clear that Edwards actually has an embarrassment of ideas, many of them flavoured with late 1980s and early 1990s techno and all of them linking together beautifully. The mood is friendly but on occasion heavier grooves punch in, so that tracks like Qat and QCD impress with their inventive breakbeats. The latter floats in on the wind like a set of chimes before some nice crossrhythms set up an unexpected but rather stately chorale.

Qui, the first track, shows how substantial these structures can become, leading to a swirling snowstorm of a loop where the keyboard carries all before it. Qis, the glittering closing section, and Qua are largely without percussion, but still have a natural rhythmic momentum.

Does it all work?

Yes. Edwards keeps things moving, nothing outstays its welcome, and the rich well of melodic inspiration continually pushes out new ideas.

Is it recommended?

Heartily. Minotaur Shock is very much on form here, with a warm-hearted half hour of electronic invention to enjoy.

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