The collaborative history of Move D and Jonah Sharp, head of the San Francisco-based Reflective Records, is a bit of a dichotomy in terms of releases. The pair have managed to chalk up a grand total of three records in twenty years under the moniker of Reagenz, spurred on by the popularity of their on-going live performances, which have been decidedly immortalised by their latest release, The Periodic Table. The record’s six tracks are a snapshot of a two-and-a-half-hour show at The Bunker New York, whittled down to a seventy minute window into the two artists spontaneous crack at resetting the boundaries of electronic music, which Moufang has described as being like “a game of chess in a way – you follow and try to take the lead”.
The project appears to be based around the methodology of artists using one another’s basic musical instinct, in the moment, to push their sound forward. This “live jam” aesthetic is something we’ve all become familiar with of late, via collaborations like Karenn and Livity Sound. Live improvisation is something of a well-worn road for Moufang and Sharp though, especially in Sharp’s case. His début album Alien Dreamtime being an hour of live ambient techno recorded in 1993, over which psychonaut kingpin Terrence McKenna waxes his transcendental musings on existence to crowd of people probably on enough acid to make Albert Hofmann blush.
The Periodic Table is no less of a journey and, for an album that was pulled out of a mammoth live set, it’s incredibly well formed. Sputtering into life as modulating white noise that gradually breaks and makes way for contemplative synths that frame the edges of the records wilder and, in some ways, more dance floor ready ensembles. That said the whole record is an absolute gold mine for any DJs out there that enjoy their 4/8-bar loops. It’s a bit of a pleasure to pick through the six eleven-odd minute tracks to pull out sections that can range from fist pumping 3AM burners to outright melodic bliss – all of which is strung together over a no nonsense set of drum machines, which include a Roland TR 909 and 606.
I’ll be the first to admit it, and this could just be me but, the sight of two or three blokes dancing about in a sea of incomprehensible wires and MacBook’s will always make me second guess how I’m spending my Friday nights. The Periodic Table, however, stands as testament to the fact that this is about as interesting and enjoyable as it can get sometimes for electronic music.
The Periodic Table is out in 12″ format here, with a digital version out next week.