Endfest / Layup :: Double Review (Endless Illusion)

Looking over Endless Illusion’s back catalog it’s fair to say that the label took educated risks with its first vinyl outings. This latest pair, lesser known names, sees the Czechs roll the dice and come up trumps. Two releases of daring electronics from artists who deserve more vinyl attention, musicians coming out into the light.

Endfest / Layup :: Double Review (Endless Illusion)

I haven’t lived in Ireland for a long time. Seven years, maybe eight. The last place I lived there was Dublin. A small city, attractive but expensive. Electronic music was never too high on the agenda there, but there were small glimmers of light in amongst the hordes of traditional tourist treacle.

Lunar Disko was one of those lights. Set beneath Kennedy’s on Pearse Street this monthly night spawned a label and offered some of the best nocturnal outings the Irish capital had to offer. Dutch machine men of the Intergalactic FM ilk were a mainstay. This penchant for disco tinted electro and nostalgia led to some quite strange bookings, Endfest from the Netherlands being a prime example.

There was a feeling, that night, of few knowing who this burly man behind the decks was. I did, but I was in the minority. Endfest belonged to obscurity then, and still does. But a recent release on Prague’s Endless Illusion, a city less than famed for its electronic output, might be the first step to taking this man out of the shadows of Kennedy’s.

Four tracks are the serving and electro the main root but with a serious amount of flavour and spice added. House beats, sorrowful wave echoes, even a drizzling of techno have been collected. Claps collide in the sinister “Seaside Suicide.” Styles form and fade, rumbling arpeggios and thick bass bubble and boil. It’s this topsy turvy nature, this refusal to be pigeonholed, that makes Nightlife at the Forrest Edge such an intriguing listen. Looming shadows give way to gleeful harmonies, razor edged beats into cascading claps. There’s also a feeling that Endfest has, well, been away on some distant journey. Melodies from the midst of Asia burn in the spiced synths of “Fading Trees” whereas “Palladium” is a fluid and frigid march across frozen tundra. And the arrival home. “Skiphol”. Unsettling, bass-filled and broad.

Layup’s wax debut, Functionalism, is less of a Turkish bazaar and hookah affair. Think brooding, wave tinted techno and you’re closer to the mark from Endless Illusion’s co-founder. “Tugendhat” is the moodiest of its brothers. Thump and shimmering bars, watering eyes and intent “Osada Baba” has similar dark undercurrents but the EP is giving way to dawn. Beats take a backseat as warm pads are the focus. The most functional outing arrives with “Barrandov”. Clean snapping drums support juddering chords, builds rising and falling after a leering intro. “Axa” is a completely different beast. Cold electro, stark and stripped and alone.

Looking over Endless Illusion’s back catalog it’s fair to say that the label took educated risks with its first vinyl outings. This latest pair, lesser known names, sees the Czechs roll the dice and come up trumps. Two releases of daring electronics from artists who deserve more vinyl attention, musicians coming out into the light.

Both releases are available on Endless Illusion. [Soundcloud]

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