Published Jun 01, 2016The latest from Romanian sound-designer Akim Hash (otherwise known as Akim#) it is a fine little gem of an EP for Reinhardt Records that finds him dabbling confidently in ambient, techno and house styles, with classy results.
The icy synths of opening track "Hard To Explain" set the mood for these four offerings nicely before a nice, deep, mid-tempo house beat drops. Ghostly vocal samples then haunt the background as the track builds to a tasteful breakdown. The dynamics here are perhaps well worn, but Hash deploys them with finesse. Next track "How Far Can You Go" is satisfying Boards of Canada-lite, forgoing the Scottish pair's sometimes obtuse melodies for something more immediately rewarding, without sacrificing the mysterious beauty of their style.
The title track is perhaps the weakest offering here, a pulsing techno-inflected ride that's inoffensive enough but unremarkable. Closing track "Solar" regains the listener's attention though, its melody and pads evoking the subtle urgency of early Paul van Dyk. An unexpected four-four beat that drops at the four-and-half-minute mark here is expertly judged, and perhaps the album's finest moment, a minor detail writ large.
It should also be noted that the digital version of this release includes two additional songs that are on par with the rest of the EP. With or without these, Phosphene is a compelling handful of tracks that leaves one hungry for more. (Reinhardt Records)