Spanish producer Juan Rico blends two of his production projects in his latest offering with Pole Group, full-length album The Blue Album.
Upon first investigation of both projects – Reeko and Architectural – the two projects don’t have a great amount of difference. Both production names/brands are techno with elements of dub and progressive genres, and it’s questionable whether there’s a clear reason of difference between the projects. Maybe it’s a personal thing for the artist. Rico graduated as an architect, so perhaps his project Architectural is related to those particular studies in joining music as a form of architecture. Perhaps perhaps.
Let’s go with what is clear in terms of music production, rather focus on abstract concepts related to production names. That’s what we should really care about here, the rest is promotional bollocks. His name could be Aardvark Ostrichfennel, but the output is still the same.
Rico has 37 releases (mostly on vinyl) noted in solo and collaborative efforts since 2003 as Reeko (plus another couple of tracks on compilations of label Mental Disorder), and has released another six EPs on wax as Architectural since 2010.
But this is also a distraction from the task at hand. Without time to research an intriguing split of project names and an impressive archive of work, I’m going to go by what I hear from Reeko’s first full-length album, The Blue Album.
The main embedding of The Blue Album lies in hollow techno with reverberating dubby synths and textures, with an emphasis on space and epic electrified scope. ‘Melted’ trumpets defiantly and holds great power, before taking it back to a more house-oriented path of ‘Dualities’ which rings murkily and alters in a subtly and acidly repetitive sequence.
‘Sex on Kepler’ is a harmonic and progressive track which swims through a meditative mid-range chord simply and elegantly, before punching in with the dark finesse and juxtaposition of ‘Force Carriers’, of which the synth line buzzes and hovers as an insidious and anxious compliment to the pulsing 4-4, which emotes raw and tensely.
‘String Theory’ provides a much needed relief from the dark pounding in layered and arpeggiated rolling synths, which heighten and undulate through EQs, and is accompanied by other layers of hiss and dreamy ambient sounds. The Blue Album‘s journey is earthed and again anxiety-provoking in the deep bass beat of ‘Startling Idea’, which develops space and depth again in higher airy white noise, but made cumbersomeness and anxious (although effective) by the nervous layering and progressively jittery textures that seem to serve two polar ends of atmosphere.
‘The Universal Dream’ provides a final point of introspection with hollow drums and accompanying sides textural embellishments with accompanying melanchony synths. The finale wasn’t particularly effective and was rushed in trying to create an atmospheric spell.
Did The Blue Album work as an album? I wasn’t breathtaken by the objective journey of the album and didn’t hear anything particularly ground-breaking within any composition, but there were some good juxtapositions in atmosphere created, and it could also suit Detroit techno-style specialists‘ tastes.
I feel a producer like Reeko who produces such quantity could have made something of more lasting value. It does have atmosphere, but it doesn’t stand as anything particularly unique, except perhaps for diehard techno lovers who “get it” more than I do as a listener.
The Blue Album is released on 30 September at Pole Group.
Written by Kristian Hatton.