CURRENT VALUE applies the gravity brake with force and lands heavily in 2017 with his first release of the year, arriving in the form of the STARFLEET EP on leading dark drum & bass label BLACKOUT MUSIC NL. The 6 tracks within mark CV's third incursion through Black Sub Empire's label, following the highly regarded NITRO and ROCKET SCIENCE EP's and a slew of live performances at the seminal Blackout events and stages across Europe. His single-minded pursuit of fresh sonic ideas is purely evident, with each slice of tech dnb sharpness tearing with pleasing abrasiveness across the temporal lobe and exerting unforgettable bass pressure to the chest cavity.
Title track STARFLEET rides on a wave of complex digital textures, pierced through with yearning faux-strings and an awe-striking stellar aesthetic, before dropping into a rude and carefully balanced brutal assault. The pure bassweight of ELECTRIFY hangs on 2-step percussion with a light touch, sharply effective with its call and answer synth line. AGILITY is packed with a pure and fast-paced energy that has been eviscerating live dancefloors in Current Value's sets for the last couple of months, with dynamic fast-moving arpeggios and a mean sawtooth punctuated by subtle techno bleepery. The paranoia-inducing MIND's NATURE aims for sensory overload with its undulating flurries of tense audio, while RECTANGULAR hits poignantly with appropriately squared aggravation. Rounding off the EP in spectacular fashion is SACRED with it's manga reminiscent pitched vocals and suppressed 8 bit vibe sonic artefacts backing an impressively to the point roller.
It’s odd to see Starfleet as the title to an album and not remember Leonard Nimoy singing about Bilbo Baggins or William Shatner doing a spoken word version of Rocket Man, but that’s as close as we have gotten to Star Trek musical albums, other than a soundtrack to the movies, but where’s the fun in that? Sadly Starfleet is not about Star Trek, so if that’s what you’ve come looking for don’t be disappointed - there’s still plenty of awesome science fiction infused within Current Value’s latest EP from Blackout Music.
The title track is also the first track. Current Value’s “Starfleet” begins with more of a pop sound as the drum is more of a bongo-style rhythm that I could easily see Beyonce and her single ladies dancing to, but that quickly falls off in favor of a more electronic computer boop-boop sound. Then just as quickly as Beyonce faded into the internet a new and faster bongo rhythm comes in against faster jungle snare drums and cymbals, then that leads into synthesizing squelches and scratches of old school vinyl. This piece has everything from old school to jungle to future music, all the while paving way for a rich and innovative dance sound. Jam out, Spock, it’s only logical.
“Electrify” is more ethereal and disjointed at the same time, almost as if the faster snare beats are glitching against harpsichords. The ethereal doesn’t last long before the synthetic sounds pick up with a sound that can be described like a police siren. This one sounds like a zipper moving up and down as someone is jamming out to sick beats and suddenly the cops are called. The blissful ethereal sound drops about three and a half minutes in, but like its predecessor it doesn’t last long before the party picks back up and the cops are out looking again. A great beat to groove to, just make sure you have a clean conscience.
The aptly named “Agility” would require a miracle to dance to, which is fine because the initial background keyboard continues the ethereal theme from “Electrify” so you will be in a calming state for a few moments and can get a second wind. It doesn’t last long because just after the one minute mark there’s this sound that I would describe as a synthesizer mimicking a half-second sound of an anti-lock break system on a car kicking in. The drums come back full force and the skid sound is more frequent to create an and down rhythm that really works. The next drop off returns to the heavenly music for a short moment to break the tension, but there’s no time to breathe before synthesizers and drums come back and whisk you to the dance floor again. Scratching vinyl, great synthetics, and awesome bass drums make up the heart of this song, but it’s the ethereal background that is its soul.
“Minds Nature” is a beast of a song. The initial sound is a distorted organ and squelch sounds like someone dragging something. There’s a sound similar to the siren from “Electrify” that slowly builds, almost like a pressure cooker about to explode and then the words “mind’s nature” are heard in this really cool female robot voice before returning to the bass drums and snares. By the end we have had a few of these drops and squelch sounds to create a very interesting layered vision.
The heartbeat of the album is probably “Rectangular”. The bass drums repeating a down-up rhythm against a keyboard and synthetics is very much a constant feel that this one has some real soul in it. There are some really interested synths in here that are a combination of computer sounds and almost video game-like sounds about half way in that when mixed together sound like running water. The snare drums in this one are a bit more hollow at times and the synths are pretty consistent, so I can totally see this one being a strong dance beat in a major club.
The heartbeat returns in “Sacred” against some squelching, tinny snares, and what sounds like segments of a choir. This one is pretty interesting as the choir builds this epic pressure and the squeak-oontz of the squelch sounds give a secular sound that juxtaposes the sacred choir. It’s as though the artist wants to take the holiness presented in “Electrify” and present it to the masses as something they can relate to. I really like the hidden truth here that drum and bass can be “sacred” while still retaining the jungle and acid beats.
Holy, holy, Star Trek fans! Come join the club scene and get out of your momma’s basement, because Current Value is getting jiggy with Kirk and Spock in the holiest of ways and you’re invited for the front row seat. Beam me up, Scotty.
Pick up Starfleet today available March 10, 2017 from Blackout Music.