Cathode, Special Measures [Expanding Records – EVA5:03, 2004]

cathode_eva503The first Expanding album to see the light of day in 2004 comes from Cathode and is entitled “Special Measures”. The ever so excellent artwork and packaging aside this album shows an Expanding Records’ in great shape. “Be red or yellow” starts off this album in a fairly analogue setting without giving up the glitch, layers of gentle guitars are fused with broken rhythms and a healthy solid beat sets the ambience. Onto the piece de resistance, unquestionably the best track on the entire LP is the equally aptly entitled “While making other plans”. The gentle melody, the convincing beats and rhythm introducing the track leads onto to clever use of bell-like sounds and an awesome build-up. Enter the strings… it’s all over and together with the processed vocals you’ve got one of the best tracks of 2004. Yes, I know it’s still early days, but I’m quite confident. The slightly more techno influenced “Spincycle” offers a straight kick and dynamic bell based sound structure. “Hayling and Brixton” got a decidedly analogue bassline and loveable melody, quite ingenious in all its simplicity. It’s electronica according to the non-existent blueprint. Flipping the record over and you get a mellower sounding “Roxburgh” starting off with high-frequency sounds and solid melodies interacting, All in all its’ familiar sounding, yet new. “Basic Assumption” has a brilliant ambient intro taking the tempo down even further, epic soundscape stuff, still with that analogue feeling lurking about. It’s beatless, processed and beautiful. The understated beats with corresponding bass filled melody creates great atmosphere in “This Just In (c90 mix)” a steadily building and flowing track. Mid-through, the track’s bearing elements become transparent only to be reshaped again, excellent production. “Lewy Body” features a fragile melody fused with strings and some residual glitch, then transforming into a nursery rhyme like forward moving track. A slab of uncompromised contemporary music being at the same time: dynamic, rhythmic, complex and thoroughly enjoyable. I’m looking forward to whatever’s in store from the Expanding camp in the future. They manage to always serve as a source for inspiration, sonically as well as visually.