Listening to this remarkable second album from Soma’s Vector Lovers, I found I was either transported to the stars or putamongst the weather. That’s not an observation on the quality of the music you understand, more the effect of Martin Wheeler’s loops weavingtheir electronic magic.
Take the opener City Lights From A Train, which most definitely felt like falling snow. Or Boulevard – and a windy one at that, blown about byone of Wheeler’s many intricate sound effects. Truly stellar meanwhile, is more obviously the closing To The Stars…, made so through a vocal effectakin to that used by Holst at the end of his Planets suite.
Wheeler’s debut album as Vector Lovers album caused quite a stir on its release last year, so for him to be producing a follow-up of thisquality with time to spare says much for the man’s powers of invention.
Once again each track is painstakingly constructed, the different lines interweaving to form loops that Wheeler tends to move towards thebackground, creating a space for sound effects, treble lines, or, more likely, cutting bass sounds. The one vocal track, Melodies And Memory,makes good use of a synthetic voice track, a hint of Orbital in the electronics, Royksopp in the chorus.
This record represents a subtle step on from Wheeler’s previous work, drum and bass tracks relatively far forward in the mix. The thickly cutbassline of Arrival, Metropolis breaks through the surrounding texture, while the kick drum in Microtron slices through the other lines like aknife through butter. A biting lower register sound comes in to dominate Nostalgia 4 The Future, whilst the ticking clock effect that opens PostArctic Industries is soon overtaken by full-bodied bass and regimented four to the floor beat.
There is an almost spiritual purity about the construction of some of the electronic loops, and some are extremely quiet almost to the point ofinaudible (Substrata) but sharply in focus throughout. The spatial awareness Wheeler shows would seem to mark him out as a futuresoundtrack composer, at the very least ideal for a computer game.
He may take his lead in part from Kraftwerk and early Aphex Twin, but on this second Vector Lovers album Wheeler sheds his ‘bright new thing’ image, replacing it with one that promises quality electronic music for years to come.