There’s a polished quality to Vedanta that belies Joseph S Joyce’s experience as a producer and DJ. The British musician has been putting out dance-music for more than fifteen years now, under names such as Joe Rapid and Jobe, and within many different sub-genres, from breaks to minimal. 2014 has seen something of a resurgence from Joyce under his given name. Having already released an EP of tongue-in-cheek tech-house (of questionable merit) for Wiggle Records earlier in the year, he’s now serving up a dubby techno concoction on his own Default Position label.
Vedanta is all about slick 303 patterns, dusty rumbles and shimmering rhythmic hooks that converge in a thick and heady musical atmosphere. If elsewhere in dance-music there is a trend towards rough and abrasive sounds, then the smoothened and lacquered quality to Vedanta is a reminder that techno doesn’t have to sound like artillery canons and industrial vacuum-cleaners.
Whilst Joyce’s track is decent enough, the sort of record you might use whilst building a set, the package is really all about the remixes. Sebastian Mullaert, aka one half of Minilogue, offers up three different takes on the original. On the a-side, his ‘untitled’ remix is eleven minutes of transient rhythms and melodies which, strange and hypnotic, are grafted on top of the track, adding to the druggy vibe of the original. A convergence of minimalist and maximalist styles, it is an outing in deep and trippy techno that locks the listener into its soundscape.
On the flipside, Mullaert’s vinyl-exclusive Boulder Dub Remix takes things into a slightly beefier direction, the bassline becoming firmer and more pronounced, whilst the eclectic flourishes of the previous remix are reigned in for a sound that is more streamlined. The digital-only Echoes In The Mist remix takes a similarly minimal approach, adding reverb-laced tribal drums to great effect.
If there is a criticism to be made it is that all four tracks sound rather similar. Mullaert’s remixes refine and add-to the original rather than reinvent it, and the subtle differences between his own remixes might leave some listeners baulking at the homogeneity of the record. Yet, such a critique overlooks the differences at work at a deeper level within each track, meaning it’s those with a careful ear that will enjoy the most out of this.