Cell Out – Oblong Room / Beatnik Boulevard

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Beatnik Boulevard is quickly becoming a ‘blind buy’ label for me. Just four releases in and already boasting a solid catalogue from the likes of Appleblim and Swayzak. It’s an imprint working at the coal-face of forward-thinking dance music.

Cell Out’s debut outing ‘Oblong Room’ only serves to push that further. A lesson in precision, patience and power, with production so clean I’d let the wee-uns eat off it.

“It’s still the basic concept, oblong room, with speakers and flashing lights, and drug-addled teenagers seeking transcendence through repetitive beats”, states the vocal sample –of a well-known rave hero–.

The arrangement illustrates this beautifully. Just like a good pill, it’s about the juxtaposition of the gnarly and the sweet. The drums are huge, distorted and compressed to within an inch of their life. In contrast, the melodic elements are spacious and velvety. The pleasure-pain principle in full-effect.

‘Seeking Transcendence’ is more minimal in it’s approach, at least on the lead-in. The drums are much cleaner here, static and abrupt, punctuated by delayed one-shot percussion samples. Stripped back, bass heavy rave gear for the heads down crew.

The EP closes with a nice beats edit of ‘Oblong Room’ which takes a less epic sounding approach, favouring a funkier, almost Garage-like style, which just so happens to be my personal favourite. Essential gear!