We have 2 copies of this rather wonderful aural delight to give away to two lucky R$N readers. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Seriously, is this summer? I need some aural respite from outside in the form of an Inch-time. Help me out sir”
“Mixing the sharp gleam of metal percussion with the warm asperity of plucked strings, he achieves a blending of effect that’s at once familiar and remarkably fresh.” The Wire
Inch-time AKA Adelaide-born, London resident Stefan Panczak presents ‘The Floating World’. Emotive and pristine electronics call to mind Boards Of Canada, Norken, Subway, Global Communications, Four Tet, and a hint of Metro Area.
The ten tracks are so well arranged, melodic and rich in sonic colour, that the release transcends simply electronica, delving into the worlds of avant garde, post rock, neoclassical, dub and deep techno. From jazz-imbued circular melodies to cascading synths and eerie atmospherics, the brushed beauty of ‘The Floating World’ finds Panczak crafting dizzyingly effective works. Combining a whole raft of instrumentation with sleek electronics, crackling percussion and a slow-building intensity, the album is packed with flourishes and surprises.
The 4/4 of album opener ‘Videograms’ sets the tone with a quiet grace and elegance fused with subtly epic drama. Panzak’s chillingly nocturnal take on cold wave, ‘X-Ray Eyes’ is like an unholy alliance of ‘Low-Life’ era New Order and Soft Cell, with icy synths creeping malevolently. Equally foreboding and just as appealing is the dub-infused ‘Suspensions’, which cuts through with swathes of throbbing bass and echo-laden rhythms, while a twinkling melody provides a neat counterpoint to the doomy yet dreamy sounds.
Panczak excels at conjuring arrangements that are both thrillingly complex and devastatingly simple. He threads together repeated melody patterns, whether on the feather-light ‘Of Times Past’, which recalls Steve Reich, the crunchy and haunting ‘The Big Sleep, or the digital folk textures of ‘Ukiyo’. The latter, when nestled alongside euphoric minimal electro, is reminiscent of Caribou’s dexterous styles.
Influenced by Brian Eno at his most rhythmic – especially his collaborations with David Byrne – Inch-time’s closest contemporaries include the likes of Isan and Robin Saville’s solo efforts.
After a handful of albums, seven/twelve-inches, cassettes and remixes released on various labels, ‘The Floating World’ is Inch-time’s first recording for his own Mystery Plays Records. The latest full-length in Inch-time’s growing discography, this new album, follows his cassette ‘A Handful of Dub’, released in 2010. Inch-time might have swapped the environs of Adelaide for the hustle and bustle of London, but it’s a move he’s glad he made. Since releasing his earliest records back in 2003, Inch-time has quietly forged an irrepressible niche.
The new album has evolved to take in new elements while sticking to the unique approach, which Panczak has made his signature since his first album, 2005’s ‘Any Colour You Like’. Released on Static Caravan, the ear-catching debut was evocative of moods which recalled the likes of Tortoise, Talk Talk and Labradford at their most ornate. It’s not surprising that Panczak’s music seamlessly incorporates jazz-flecked motifs – he once sold his saxophone in order to buy a sampler, after all. Being raised on a nourishing stew of jazz and psychedelic rock has served him well and it seems appropriate that Inch-time recordings are so expansive and multi-textured.
With the spectral ambience of follow-up album ‘As the Moon Draws Water’, released in 2006, Panczak set out to create something akin to the brooding intensity of Mezzanine-era Massive Attack as well as the kaleidoscopic concoctions of DJ Shadow and Animal Collective.
A string of EPs and cassette releases have followed – not to mention the rich and ambitious ‘Teaism’ compilation curated by Panczak, which featured a collection of songs inspired by the culture of tea.
A keen devourer of all things artistic and cultural, Panczak was inspired for his latest record by the Japanese art movement ‘Ukiyo-e’, particularly artists Hiroshige and Hokusai. It’s a fitting influence given his music’s decidedly visual feel, being so cinematic in scope.
Inch-time is out on Mystery Plays Records on July 25th 2011 in rather wonderful packaging. Check above for a competition on how to get your hands on a copy of the album.