Alpha Function – Il.Legacy [AMP]
Hailing from Italy is an emerging artists by the name of Alpha Function. Here he delivers his first release on Berlin-based Ampispazi Records. Italy’s scene has been quietly growing and evolving for a number of years, and quality is ubiquitous around the country, from Milan to Rome and beyond. Though still working in a full-time job, the enigmatic producer is finding time to develop his own ideas and his latest offering is a wonderful four-track EP, consisting of two original pieces and two remixes. He manages to blend elements of dub techno and the techier side of minimal into something that’s very pleasing to sit and listen to.
Alpha Function opens with the title track, ‘Il.Legacy’. A wayfaring synth probes into the bleak skyline while a solitary woodblock establishes the meter. An offbeat cymbal ties in loosely with the tentative pads and accompanying synth lines. The mix is deep and sentimental, the lyricism of the melodies and harmonic progression reminiscent of the late Martin Dawson (check out ‘Is This Goodbye – Tale Of Us Remix’). The juxtaposition between the soft chords and more assertive percussion make this one a 6am slow burner that will warm-up nicely toward another peak moment. Alpha Function cites Villalobos as a primary influence in his development as a musician, and this is unmistakeable when listening to the hollow kick and minimal bass-line.
Next we move onto ‘Discordia’, which is arguably the strongest track on the EP and was actually the genesis of whole project. A bout of inspiration manifested a demo in Ableton that resulted in the finished track ‘Discordia’. After showing it to Ramsi Bougammoura and Mik Santoro the rest of the EP began to form, resulting in the two remixes we have on the flip.
The track continues through the deep backdrop in which this EP is set. This one is more of a dub techno roller, with the skipping bass drum and thin bed of slowly sinuating synths. The accompanying bass-line and rhythmic percussion lines lead us into the next section, again featuring saturated crash cymbals and a quietly driving low end to keep things ticking forward. The breakdown is handled well, its release a great re-entry back into the hook. A great timbral palette and solid musical content make this is a wonderful piece of techno, brilliantly crafted.
The first remix comes from the aforementioned Ramsi. The remix of ‘Il.Legacy’ is nice and atmospheric, albeit a little unimaginative. Ramsi chooses to intensify the spotlight on the synth hook, opening with it as a solo, and later bringing in the kick half a minute into the track. He takes a more understated approach, cultivating a more subdued atmosphere that incubates the track into something tight and introverted. Gone are the emphatic percussion voices of the original, and in its place more static synth lines and subtle variations; the vibe is very Life And Death. Minimal is deceptively difficult to master, but Ramsi does a commendable job here.
‘Discodia’s remix comes from Ampispazi’s boss Mik Santoro. It feels a little more considered and the restructure works great. Again, perhaps the original works better, but Santoro’s inclusion of the smoky NY-Chicago styled vocal is perfect and adds a beautifully deep vibe to the track. One can imagine a slowly setting sun, looking over the crimson city skyline, the urban panorama gradually consumed by the approaching dusk.
Overall a great EP full of some great ideas. The two remixes on this EP really allow this album to come into its own, adding some nice perspectives on Alpha Function’s original pieces. The rest of 2015 holds the fruition of a few more projects from Alpha Function, including some more techno material that will be worth checking out for sure.