4 Albums – Captain Mustache Indigo Memories; Quivver Revelate; Satoshi Fumi Mysterious Phenomenon; Lopezhouse Apollo
reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
This is a novel idea from John Digweed’s Bedrock label. The Quattro project presents four new albums from Bedrock artists, put together in typically chic packaging. The four producers in question range from the new to the experienced, namely Quivver, Captain Mustache, Lopezhouse and Satoshi Fumi.
The care and attention to detail with the release gives it a prestigious air, but also shows the depth of investment Bedrock are prepared to make in their artist roster.
What’s the music like?
There is a wealth of electronic music goodness here.
First up is Quivver’s Revelate album, released separately in November and given a bright green light on this very site. As Arcana said at the time, the structure of John Graham’s album is impeccably cast and tells its own story, acting like a DJ mix. There is a really rewarding mix of deep, warm house tracks but also those laced with a bit of attitude, all geared squarely towards the dancefloor.
Altered and Funkfly are two great examples of just how strong Quivver’s groove can be, while Crystals offers enticing warmth. What really impresses though is Graham’s mastery of his tools, never using too many or too few notes, and generating impressive momentum through his rhythm tracks.
The music of Satoshi Fumi offers the ideal contrast, generally operating at a slower tempo. There are some lovely, warm soundscapes here, proving well suited for a poolside session but also more immersive home listening. That’s because Fumi’s compositions have rich, melodic layers, such as the cellos in A Ray Of Sunlight, or the warm pads used in Dawn And The Moon. Star Gazer is appropriately awestruck as it heads outside with busy pianos and heady strings, while Bamboo Forest presents an intimate set of loops. Fumi has great control over his music at all times, but that doesn’t stop him from expanding his thoughts on occasion, using music made by instinct as well as process. His works are descriptive too – Out To Sea and Air Castle paint vivid pictures as their loops unfold.
Contrast this with the work of Lopezhouse, the Spanish duo adding darker colours to their work in a very effective set of brooding instrumentals. Apollo is a fine debut after 3 EP releases, sporting some dark and tense numbers in Clouds and Soyuz II, while Burning gets just the right balance between poolside chill and a gritty, urban undercurrent. Love On A Spacecraft goes widescreen with pulsing electronics and big boned drums, while the title track is slightly dreamy. Someday, meanwhile, is prime end credits material.
The tempo increases again for Captain Mustache, whose Indigo Memories album gives the double benefit of sounding like home-produced techno while producing grooves destined for a far bigger room. Bleu Ciel, previously released on Bedrock, gets the album off to a pulsating start, sounds flitting above an electro beat that could be imported from the 1990s. Catch Me has a cinematic air, and Andromeda works up a head of steam, while Paola proves to be a compelling electro / techno loop fest. Midnight Man is a great futuristic track with a touch of Jean-Michel Jarre about it, while Shapes & Oddity also reaches back into the vaults to create a Tron-style thriller.
Does it all work?
It does. Each of the albums will stand well on their own, but given as part of a package they complement each other extremely well. Although John Digweed might not have contributed a musical note here, his influence runs through each of the releases, as you could expect any of these tracks to crop up in a DJ mix under his guidance.
By that you will gather production standards are high, each track is impeccably structured, and the attention to detail is reflected in the artwork adorning this handsome box. There is an album for each mood, too – Quivver and Captain Mustache tending towards moments of dancefloor-based hedonism, Lopezhouse getting the moody end of day lead up to the big night, and Satoshi Fumi floating between the start and the end of the night.
Is it recommended?
With great enthusiasm. Quattro feels like a bit of an indulgence on the part of the buyer, but in the best possible way as this is a labour of love from Digweed’s label. If you plump for the physical version the rewards are many, since not only do you get the music but you get the clever, minimalistic packaging. For those of a certain age – yours truly, for instance, who bought the package just before Christmas – this middle-aged electronica fan means something, at least!
You can buy the Quattro CD set from the Bedrock shop here