TheFreqDesign – “In The Lab” b/w “Anguarian Humblingbird” / Polypores – The Fialka Transmissions

Not content to just sit back and lap up the justified plaudits bestowed upon the still-fresh They Make No Say singles compilation, Dom Martin’s Polytechnic Youth imprint returns rapidly to active duty with two new releases – respectively straight off the lathe and hot off the press.  Veering towards the more expansive and layered-up corners of Polytechnic Youth’s synth-led sound world, these two new records move things forward at a pepped-up pace.

TheFreqDesign - "In The Lab" b/w “Anguarian Humblingbird”

TheFreqDesign – “In The Lab” b/w “Anguarian Humblingbird”

The first out of these two new PY wares – by a matter of days – is another meticulously-assembled lathe-cut 7” from the still somewhat secretive inner-space-age voyaging of TheFreqDesign.  First heard on a previous – 44-copy-only – 7” on the same label in 2014 (one side of which was reprised on the aforementioned They Make No Say collection), this seemingly just one-man-his-and-electronics enterprise delivers two fresh delectable essays wrapped-up within eye-catching gloss-photo packaging, in a slightly less exclusive edition of 123.  A-side “In The Lab” is the most cosmic of the two tracks; built-up from warm waves of analogue synths and pulsing drum sounds it reimagines the bleak retro visions of the fellow-travelling Concretism with the more optimistic romanticism of ISAN.  Flipside “Anguarian Humblingbird” is a far more bustling but no less essential piece; splicing the atmospheric-technoscapes of labelmates The Home Current with the squelchy avenues of analogue-electro purists Metamono. On the basis of these two cuts, a long-player from TheFreqDesign would certainly be an enticing prospect.

Polypores - The Fialka Transmissions

Polypores – The Fialka Transmissions

Second up from this new mini-crop of PY produce is the first-time-on-vinyl album-length outing from Polypores (AKA the Preston-based Stephen James Buckley), following a string of Bandcamp-only affairs.  With its imposing modern-day CCTV cover imagery and its immersive synths-and-sampler-constructed contents, The Fialka Transmissions merges the moods of electronically-fashioned dystopian visions from the past and present.  Propelled by the fattest beats to have a graced a PY discography entry to date, the eleven gathered tracks fuse together as one long near-seamless suite.  Such cohesion does make it tricky to separate out the influences and cross-referencing kinships that make the Polypores mechanics tick.  But there are certainly strong aural shades of John Carpenter’s darkest tapestries (“The Politician”), Umberto’s throbbing imaginary film themes (“The Cabal”), long-lost ‘70s Radiophonic Workshop sci-fi scores (“Minus One Man”) and warmer warbling kosmische (“Handshake In The Dark”).  Yet, such comparisons perhaps don’t explain everything that makes The Fialka Transmissions unfurl so eerily yet so energetically, particularly when repeat spins reveal hidden depths and alternate angles, much like the Big Brother surveillance instruments of its front cover.  An impressively inscrutable introductory in short.

Collectively then, these two latest Polytechnic Youth nuggets prove that there are still plenty of ideas and idioms to be gleaned from the technology and techniques of futures-past.

Polytechnic Youth