2021 May 02     
2 Bit Thugs

The third in a series of vinyl-only EPs from US label Cosmic Incantations

Cosmic Incantations, those Stateside purveyors of all things, erm, cosmic compile four more prime slices of “old stuff that sounds like the future and new stuff that sounds like old stuff” for the third EP in their vinyl-only series. 

Philadelphia’s Elvin T kicks us off with Fantasie Impromptu, a sparse, acidic analogue workout with a touch of wonk. Warm, wobbling bass and crisp tape-distorted drums roll along nicely with just a running closed hat atop the kick and snare, before a tape-delayed vocoded vocal pops up to take centre stage. A game of cat and mouse then ensues between the rhythm section and the vocals, producing several short drops on our way to the main breakdown, where a suge of white noise and a wobbling LFO sweep crescendo drop back into both beats and vox, side-by-side this time, to see out the rest of the track in fine grooving style.

Up next is Owen NI's Cyber Tweakin', another slice of sparse, analogue acid but with fewer distorted elements this time, so it’s cleaner-sounding than the opener, with the resonance employed a little more in a way that reminds me of early John Tejada releases. Owen dubs out his snares and white noise stabs, gently introducing a secondary distorted synth but only bringing it into slight focus as he gradually increases the squelch of the acid line into the main break, where gentle chords and retro computer bleeps serve to add a bit of a sci-fi feel as the kick drum treads a solo march for a few bars, before the whole supporting cast re-enters for the final trek.

For me however, three is the magic number on this release, with The Jambonies and their track Parental Instincts providing a delightful slab of sleaze and a narrative that repeatedly tells you “I’m your daddy” over a track that constitutes the closest thing to stomping on the EP. Playing us out, we have the hissy, distorted melancholy of Frank Agrario’s Harare. The drums on this are nice and clean, while the slightly erratic, almost jazz-liike melody is subjected to distorted tape delay as the track meanders along, centred around a lovely acid groove and various synth and melodic elements which come and go seemingly at will.

A solid, consistently acid, consistently analogue four-tracker that’ll no doubt appeal to the more discerning collectors out there.

Words: Iain Taylor

Release date: 27 April



Review Score: 8




Tags: Cosmic Incantations, Elvin T, Owen NI, The Jambonies, Frank Agrario, acid house