In 1995, the Basic Channel folks established the Chain Reaction label to release further explorations in super-deep dub techno and experimental ambient music. The label wrapped up its production in 2003, having released thirty five 12”s and eleven CDs. Many of these albums are still held in the highest regard among ambient and techno fans, and a number of the artists involved went on to have prolific, long-lasting careers, including Monolake, Vladislav Delay, and Porter Ricks. The final full-length CD release was a double-album set by Fluxion (real name, Konstantinos Soublis) entitled “Vibrant Forms II”, compiling two of his previous 12” releases along with several new pieces. The album explores similar sonic territory to the Basic Channel and Gas sound, but in a more lush, tonal ambient direction. Some natural field recordings find their way into the mix, bringing a rich organic feel to the music. Different elements of the techno spectrum are focused and experimented on track-by-track. This is fantastic mid-volume, space filling music, alternating between hypnotic, soothing and mysterious. Depending on if you're in the mood for drifting ambiance or more rhythm-driven textures, you may end up skipping around the two-plus hours worth of material collected here, but all the tracks are very high quality and manage to avoid the more abrasive and experimental side of the Chain Reaction sound. Following his “Vibrant Forms” collections, Soublis moved on to produce a series of 12”s and two full-length CDs under the names Fluxion, Silex and Unsquare Mode on his own Vibrant Music label, which explored more IDM and experimental minimal techno-oriented atmospheres. While writing this review, I discovered that Fluxion has just released a new 12” on Resopal Schallware this year, his first since '04. It is good to see a talented Chain Reaction producer still active over a decade later. Another 12” on my wishlist!
This blog will house a new series of music reviews I've been writing in my spare time. I love turning people on to new music, so I thought I would write up little blurbs about some of my favorite records as I come across them in my collection. I am aiming to write a few per week, so check back regularly.