VLEK13 – Out July 8th, 2013.
300 copies – Handmade sleeves, screenprinted cover.
Artwork by DimRun, printed at the workshop.
A year on from the release of his acclaimed debut EP, ‘Few Mysteries Solved In A Year of Contact’, which found its way onto Berghain resident Ben Klock’s Fabric Mix, Belgium producer Sagat returns to Vlek Records with a new four track 12”, ‘Satellite’.
But whilst ‘Few Mysteries…’ set down its dance floor credentials from the off, its throbbing acidic pulse lighting up clubs around the world, the ‘Satellite’ EP takes a markedly different approach.
Opening track ‘Ten Steps Removed’ is a masterclass in delayed gratification, like climbing a thousand plateaus it gently ratchets up the tension without providing relief. Just 2 minutes long it seems to stretcs time to breaking point, its lambent synths underscored by clunking metallic sounds and broken up radio transmissions and just the arrival of a hi-hat, that sounds like it’s on loan from an early ‘90s Sabres track, offers some release.
Pitched somewhere between the metronomic pulse of a grandfather clock and rudimentary 2-Step, title track ‘Satellite’ frees us from chronal suspension, its kick drum breaking through the misty haze of synth pads that hiss like tanks leaking anaesthetic vapour. As understated as it is intricate, like a fractal image ‘Satellite’ rewards you with more and more detail with each repeated listen and closer inspection.
Turn to the B-side and ‘Port’ layers the by-now familiar airy synths over a more dancefloor friendly, if still remarkably austere, beat. Painting a picture with a thousand shades of grey, ‘Port’ forever threatens to explode into colour but Sagat keeps his track on a tight leash, exploring all the subtle nuances that his monochrome techno palette allows.
Closing the EP, ‘Intruder’ sees Sagat round things out with another exercise in sound design and abstraction. Discordant bursts of staccato machine noise and tape delay abound before the EP is subsumed back into the ether and we are left with just the infinite crackle of the run-out groove for company.
Resident Advisor (4/5): “For several years now, Belgian label Vlek has been launching from the fringes of the underground beat scene into ever more far-flung territories. These days, their brand of muggy abstraction comes in a variety of packages: Ssaliva’s hypnagogia, the forest-floor ambience of Wanda Group, Squeaky Lobster’s more conventional hip-hop. Sagat’s debut EP, released last year, revealed him to be the label’s techno connection. Few Mysteries Solved In A Year Of Contact saw the Brussels-based producer rifle through a number of established techno forms, tackling each adroitly (the title track found its way onto Ben Klock’s fabric 66). But it was difficult to shake the feeling that, compared to the highly singular nature of much Vlek fare, Sagat was a little too willing to ape his chosen formulas.” Continue Reading