Universal Indicator


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Universal Indicator Green, aka Universal Indicator #4, is a tense exploration into the minimalist hardcore acid scene; a demographic so particular it can only belong to the Rephlex record label. Technically speaking, this is a triple album, comprised of 12", 10", and 7" vinyl, with the entirety of the 12" and 10" records credited to Martin Trezidder, who turns out to be yet another alias for the famous hermit of electronica, Richard D. James. The 7" is from IG-88, aka Mike Dred, aka the Kosmic Kommando. Like others in the U.I. series, these ultra-rare vinyl pressings are anonymously released in limited quantities (500-1000), gobbled up by DJs, and probably good cannon fodder for rave sets, like tools rather than stand-alone finished products. In and of itself, it's a very narrow scope of sound: rhythm boxes, blistering sequencer lines, distortion, repetition, repetition, and repetition. There are no melody lines, not much sense of build or release, but no mistaking the powerhouse of tension that hangs like a black cloud four inches above the head for close to an hour. Side B of the 12" is straight out of Analogue Bubblebath III, even throwing a little ambient keyboard vapors over the acid below. The same can be said for the last track on side two of the 10" -- sort of a blueprint for most early AFX material. The 7" EP A-side is a thumping, gurgling imitation of everything before it, as Mike Dred makes his brief appearance. His other piece on side B is an odd finale to the whole trilogy; Dred snakes his analog synth solo through the air like Morton Subotnick making a balloon animal. And that's it. Listeners may find that all the work to get a copy of this will make more of an impression than what it sounds like. Like a few other RDJ ultra-rarities, this is a prized collector's item rather than phenomenal music.

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