In a musical scene full of producers waiting to jump on the latest bandwagon, the genuinely unique voices justifiably receive a lot of praise. Few are more singular than SVN and DJ Sotofett, masters of deep sound who helm two of the best labels around – SUED and Sex Tags, respectively.
The two are both serial collaborators, but rarely has either sounded as evocative and flat-out beautiful as they do on this new split EP. It’s the first of a pair they have slated for Finnish label Keys of Life (on offshoot of the venerable Sähkö). The name of the game here is hypnagogia, with the EP’s two patient cuts charting soft, deep textures with an impeccable attention to sound design and the trance-inducing power of repetition.
DJ Sotofett’s Current 82 (12 Mix) is the gentler of the pair, edging into its sublime voyage over two minutes of radio chatter. Everything is brought in gradually, starting with a frayed, glittering synth motif, at once celestial and sci fi. A deep, dubby bassline anchors the track, preventing the arrangement from drifting off beyond the o-zone alongside a hefty downtempo rhythm. Over the next ten minutes ambient washes sway in and out, emotive synths swell and fractured breakbeats spray out, but it never feels indulgent. Sotofett has cut a fine balance between grand and digestible, his natural knack for structure spinning a reverie you’ll be keen to revisit.
SVN’s Dark Plan 5 (Extended Mix) is just as evocative but with an edge of anxiety. He uses a dub-techno toolkit of heavy-lidded kicks and glacial synth tones but the pulse is quick, the emotions vivid. The minimal structure means you can’t help but admire the myriad details – the dry snaps that wake the listener from their hypnosis, the racing morse synth, the driving snare that emerges over the second half. It takes a special producer to make a snare feel like an revelation.
Both of these tracks are career highlights from two already great producers, taking full advantage of the way details announce themselves loudly on longer tracks. Beyond the skill and apparent effortlessness of the productions, they show how much emotive scope a relatively simple sound palette can have. If the liner notes can be believed, both tracks are over four years old (SVN’s dates from 2007, but was edited more recently by Sotofett). What else do they have in the vaults?