Skuffface and Caldera inaugurate the first 12” release from German label, Riviera Club, creating a clear manifesto for their own unique take on the world of dance music.
The Berlin/Essen-based duo Skuffface are “mostly recognisable for their different projects in the realms of lo-fi, ambient and krautrock” – a descriptive combination which will no doubt ensnare the attention of many clued-up listeners of leftfield music in general. For the most part this pitch is pretty apt; their contributions to this record do indeed appear to be a gestalt of genres, which genuinely aim for the original as opposed to the conventional.
‘Laos’ establishes its arrival with an oscillating rhythm that adds various nuances to its gradual build-up. The twinkling synths and reverb which see out its conclusion most definitely highlight the ethereal element of the Skuffface production style. Even more intriguing is ‘Paravent’, which kicks off with an idiosyncratic lo-fi vibe that’s genuinely reminiscent of bands such as Deerhunter – this opening eventually mutates into a hypnotic melody with real poignancy, with its mix of mind-bending and lucid sounds certainly giving added significance to the warped rural scenery which appears on the record’s sleeve.
Caldera initially takes things to a much more subterranean level on ‘Meshugge’, manipulating low-end bass to help propel this track into a much more conventional realm of relentless dancefloor music. It proves to be a worthy piece which utilises its underground sound to the utmost capacity, although ‘Passing By’ stands out as the more captivating of the two tracks. Take its distorted samples, which appear to be radio transmissions of some kind, slowly being assimilated into the song’s quite frankly joyous melody. It undoubtedly showcases the musical variety of Caldera’s sonic palette and displays a definite sense of ingenuity and range of musical influence on the producer’s part.