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Phondupe – Greenhouse Review


Phondupe (who we introduced back in October) seem to have their fingers in many musical pies. Geographically speaking, they have recently relocated to their home in Sydney; they’ve previously been located in the two biggest musical metropolises in the world, NYC and London. Generically speaking, Phondupe seem also to have a firm grasp on a wide variety of electronic music of the last two decades, in particular the underground downtempo scenes of 1990’s London and the contemporary indie electronic scenes in the US. This globe and genre straddling comes across in their beautiful yet challenging EP Greenhouse – a beautiful 4 tracks for cool kids who like to appreciate electronic beats in their living room over a responsible dose of their intoxicant of choice.


The EP starts off with a challenge – Asena. Being a track named after an early Turkic origin myth, it’s no surprise that this one is a bit of an experimental curveball that might turn more mainstream electronic fans away. A dissociative 4 minute nod to Bristol trip-hop, the track features delayed basslines that creep beneath simple echoing guitar riffs and soft arpeggiated leads. It’s dark and moody, the vocal refrains seeming to roll effortlessly on a psychotic sea of percussion that at times sounds more techno than breakbeat.

Twofriend begins on a similar note, clashing oscillators producing strange sonic artefacts. The track is pulled out from its descent into another experimental trip-out by some brilliantly programmed percussion and crooning, storytelling vocals not dissimilar to Nicolas Jaar. It’s a track that’s refreshingly familiar to anyone who prefers to appreciate their beats on a lounge sipping a beer rather than out at your local discotheque huffing amyl nitrate.

Track 3, Proxy, is the obvious single on this EP. Jazzy basslines and compressed guitars are worked in seamlessly among the downtempo breaks, briefly emulating an Ninja Tune vibe before brief synthesised droplets of sound begin to erattically flow downwards like raindrops on a car window. After 3 minutes of groove, the track sinks back into the psychotic – acid arps grab you by the ears and dig their way into the depths of your brainstem. Like the 2 hour mark of a casual weekend acid trip, you’re not sure whether you’re coming back from whatever it was that Proxy just did to you.

Luckily, the closer Fistful Of Lizards brings you back from the brink of introspective insanity with a much more familiar structure. Sizzling future garage percussion and a healthy sprinkling of those chopped up vocals that are oh-so vogue in electronic music these days earths this EP firmly in the 2010’s, providing a timestamp for whatever future generation of internet archaeologists that manage to stumble across whatever arcane web application Greenhouse is found on.

At just over 20 minutes in length, it’s a long EP that is full of surprises. It’s well worth exploring for fans of any and all electronic genres. Its complexity gives it good replay value while its sophisticated affectations make it great chill-out music for the slim-trousered highfaluter in all of us. Oh, and finally you’ll have something to fill that space on your record shelf between that XXYYXX CD and your Mount Kimbie tour poster. Greenhouse will be available for download on Wednesday the 4th of December via their Bandcamp. In the meantime, check out their single and their first EP below!



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December 5, 2013

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