steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Satellite Grooves

"Atoms, Molecules, and Rain" CD

Slide The Needle / Skylab Operations

Genres: idm, electronica

Slide The Needle
1318 Maryland Drive
Ladson, South Carolina 29456

Dec 2 - 8 2002

What's with electronica these days? All the hardcore beat-ridden stuff is German, all the minimal glitchscapes are Austrian, and all the club-friendly hits are British. Isn't it about time North America got involved? Well, here comes Satellite Grooves, the project of now-defunct hardcore band Eurich's John Kale, so get you're IDM helmets on and do a little glitch jig!

Oddly enough, Kale isn't the only newly-converted ex-punk IDM-er involved here. In fact, the two co-labels involved also used to be emo / hardcore labels - Slide The Needle used to be hc purveyor Fragil Records and Skylab Operations was once known by the name Smooth Lips. So then, why is this such a laidback, relaxed record? Perhaps everyone finally just got tired of the boring old punk stuff?

Every tune here is like a dreary stroll through a park at night - warm, synthesized melodies coupled with soft, trancey drums casually waltz by and shifty electronics massage your subdued brain. The only sign of Kale's past experience is the little bits of guitars added to the mix of a few of the tracks (case in point: "Blissfull [sic] Molecule"). With all sorts of influences, ranging from Orbital to The Orb and even a bit of Pluramon, there is a lot of appealing material on here. However, the occasionally all-too-familiar beat structures and synth melodies may scare off IDM purists.

Altogether, this is a very pleasant album that will appeal to both heavy electronica listeners and those unfamiliar with the genre. Its sophisticated simplicity lends it a charming sense of depth that can't be ignored. Nice.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks + 1 hidden; distributed by the label; released 2002]