Among the recent crop of standout Australian dance labels, Superconscious is quickly establishing itself as one of the best (alongside the likes of Butter Sessions). The imprint, set up in 2014 by Melbourne’s Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fantastic Man, first piqued our interest with its impressive coup of eking a sophomore EP from Swedish synth mavens Mount Liberation Unlimited, and have since netted ace outings from fellow Melburnian Andras Fox and FIO himself. Their latest comes from co-founder Fantastic Man, nailing the aesthetic that’s currently marking out the country’s best music – rough-edged club jams unafraid to toy with dance history.
The clue’s in the title here – these tracks put mean drum programming front and centre, topped with references to ambient house, acid and even early trance. The A-side cuts the deepest, where clattering breaks and a booming bassline are dramatically softened by the kind of after-hours ambience that PLO Man and DJ Sotofett do so well. The track’s big surprise is its outro – what at first seems a meditative breakdown turns out to be a generous flutter of liquid synthwork and yogic panpipes, a blissed-out comedown to gently reset energy levels.
The flipside goes harder, with standout Trance Sexual fitting tinny drumwork and bird-call synthwork to a boneshaking acid wiggle, before Fittin’ & Turnin’ relaxes with a delicate synth shimmering out over bone-dry percussion. Fantastic Man gets great mileage out of his key contrast, gentle melodies that caress the soul while the raw rhythms compel you to dance. The Melbourne scene is only continuing to excel, and Superconscious is starting to pull ahead of the pack.