Review: Reloc – Batch 0002

Reloc - Batch 0002I’ve travelled on Berlin’s U8 metro line before. I’ve sat in the darkness, sensing movement as metronomic bumps over the joins in portions of metal rail, translating acceleration and deceleration into slight adjustments in my sense of balance, thoroughly ignoring the passing of time. I’ve felt my ears bung with the pressure of being underground. I’ve bore the blank facial expression of momentary transport limbo; caught between two places, disconnected from sensory stimuli, slumped into a state of cognitive energy-save.

Batch 0002 is the digital equivalent. Each of these pieces is a simple combination of electronic tone and pulse. In other words: the clack of vehicle bounding upon the rails, and the synthetic buzz that drives this vehicle forth. Cascading delays of air resistance seeping through a half-open window, and deep thumps of wheels upon protrusive solder points. My listening recalibrates to this new level of simplicity, and before I know it, Reloc are able to tilt my reality by simply dragging a drone to a lower note, or adjusting the harmonics that bounce off the beats. On “Line U8”, the steady drone starts to veer out of the lines, snaking its way through a slow, deliberate chicane of pitch. On “Line U8.2”, the refrain bloats out of phase – ever so slightly – and then retracts into sharp focus again. Within the perceptual vacuum of transport, minor modulations become major events.

Strangely, Batch 0002 works with the principles of dance music (constant beat, looped refrain) while muting the desire for movement. I sit in a state of lull, transfixed upon the beat that sucks at the strand of synth, pulling it into the digital plosive and spitting it out again, like a tongue drawing in and out. My eyes half-closed, my ears open wide.