Aquarian Foundation – Silent Teaching Reviewed
Vancouver is not a city that immediately springs to mind when we talk about electronic music. When it comes to the West coast of North America we more readily come to think of L.A. or San Francisco. However, one group of immensely talented young men from this former frontier outpost are working hard to bolster the citys reputation as somewhere that takes its club scene and underground music very seriously.
Following on the heels of Moon Bs Entropic Feelings, Brixtons Going Good records have uncovered another great success in the making with Aquarian Foundation. With little press or promotion their debut 12, Silent Teaching, has started to sell out of many reputable record outlets. This is testament not only to their skill as players and producers but to Going Goods faith in their choice of artist and release. Moon B really is the perfect parallel. A little known, Atlanta based, boogie and funk producer who is now making waves in the U.K and Europe. Perhaps the most tangible link between these two artists and where their label transects is their devotion to the analogue process. Silent Teaching is a five track EP, recorded in the studio as it was played. Each member (three, if the youtube videos are to be trusted) puts down their part, jamming with their cohorts and expressing the music as it was felt in that very moment. This live aesthetic is definitely felt from listening to the EP and it is not hard to imagine these five songs forming the basis of a quite compelling show.
Defining what or where or when this music is about is completely redundant. There are chords, rhythmic patterns, bass lines, pads and melody from just about everywhere one can musically imagine. The opening title, Mystery Track feels like dub techno, but theres a soulful and jazzy key part sitting deeper in the mix and tying these polar elements together is the urgency of a house chord sequence. They shouldnt really work, but they do and to great effect. Caravan of Dreams is straighter down the line, with a motion filled bass line amply shouldering some subtle chords, it is the perfect conduit to Hardtalk, which stands out as being further stripped back and defined by its notable rhythm. Fountain is a song trapped in a dream state. Moving forward without incumbency, it easily lends itself to multiple listens. The final chapter is Dream of Red Chamber, which has more than a touch of jazz about the lead wind instrument, however it is under pinned by a grooving kick, some train like shakers and a series of semi-erratic bass undercurrents which help to sustain interest in a lead sequence that may be off-putting to some.
As the dust settles on this one, and the furore around getting your hands on a copy levels out, we can only hope that the follow up is already underway. Silent Teaching will not be to everyones taste but I personally feel that it has the power to effect and encourage DJs, producers and music lovers to broaden their sphere of influence, take greater risks with what theyre listening to and challenge themselves, if they do, to create their music in a different way.