Archive: 03

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The Ochre Records series of CD releases collecting singles and unreleased tracks from its flagship acts continues with this fine double-disc overview of the excellent Longstone duo. Covering five years of music that evolves from psychedelic drone and ambient wash to more active, glitch-informed electronic compositions, Archive: 03 works both as something for the band's fan base and as a great start for those new to the band as well. That folks such as Will Sergeant (on "Living Space (Live)") and Sonic Boom (with his remix of "Convex Structure Pt. 3") appear gives a good indication as to what the band can sound like, but as noted, the variety over time is what stands out most. The three-part series of "Convex Structure" songs that starts out the first disc suggests sources of inspiration like Main and the Orb, but by the time of the excellent Live in New York EP, included here in full, the duo's ear for thick textures and a low-key, snaky groove were starting to come into their own some more. The skittering hyperactivity of "Glacial Funk" in the beats, taken from another live performance, heralds more of what can be heard on the second disc, where -- from "Inverted" on through a live "Access Denied" -- techno and various derivations of its many sounds often, but not always, come to the fore a bit more. That the duo are interested less in raving and more in headspace often seems to be the case, but "Living Space (Live)" (especially with its sudden howling synth/guitar moans from Sergeant toward the middle) wouldn't sound out of place in a Meat Beat Manifesto mix set, say. Other winners include the scraggly noise collages of the bemusingly titled "st 567 897/543 913" and a hitherto-unreleased version of "L.I.F.E.span."

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