German duo Charismatix (Martin Shoenhauer and the mysterious Cybersnack, for those taking notes) have made a lot of waves this year, not least with their recent Rhino 12″ Funky Delica Tor. Showcased at a recent Kundalini in London, this album is a layered, chunky voyage into deep and subtle trance. Where a lot of artists trying this style end up latching onto the cliches, Charismatix keep on digging deeper and deeper, and this folks is where their strength lies.
Rice Baby is an understated masterpiece, with tons going on and shifting sounds aplenty, while maintaining a cool exterior which could fool you into thinking it’s a linear and unchanging bit of music. Happy, as featured on the recent EP, is a more conventional psychedelic outing, with rolling bass, eerie stabs n’ samples, and a tension-raising high end keeping the mood tight.
Title track Soma Agents has a shuffle feel and some very psychedelic twists to boot, using dubby effects to warp the layered noises into a half-mayhem that’s as devastating on the mind as it is pleasing on the ear. Anytime is a stripped-down workout showcasing their effect manipulation, and wholly in keeping with the less-is-more philosophy that underpins a lot of this album.
Funky Delica Tor, again from the single, is more dancefloor friendly with its killer lead line for the closing section, and bringing things to a warped bladerunner close, Do It mixes sweet linear runs with offcentre antimelodies to create a disconcerting and quirky close to the album.
Definitely something different here then, and most significantly it has a very specific renewed energy to it: somehow, after playing it you instantly want to play it again and see what you missed along the way. Not instantly accessible, and not to everybody’s taste, but if innovation is your bag then this is well worth a look.