Fasme & Maelstrom – Lotus 48

4 out of 5

Label: Central Processing Unit

Produced by: Tom Ferreira & Joan-Mael Péneau

Tight, to-the-point electro from Fasme & Maelstrom, navigating four tracks from slightly more ambient-touched IDM toward clubby beats, concluding in an all-timer: Moneres.

The two artists, who individually tend to elicit “sounds like Rephlex” sides of a coin – Fasme erring toward slippy soothing stuff, a la Global Goon; Maelstrom all on that AFX groove – combine to best that syndrome, delivering tracks that divide the line well and carve out a unique sense of identity at the same time.

Opener Almond Blossom has an appropriately delicate, sweet sounding name: it off with a snippy, old-school beat, but when the synths come in, it’s all bouncy joy. Ciliae – I’m reminded of cilia, which feels relevant – takes that pace and sharpens its edge. It’s still upbeat in a sense, but it’s the roboticized version of where we started, taking a few bars to establish this new sense before it can open up for some contemplative synths.

The title track then gets down to business. Bubbling, restless, it’s a mysterious a frantic BPM workout, countering the more carefree nature of the A-side.

I’m digging on the sense of growth from track to track, but also important is intra-song: Fasme & Maelstrom don’t simply drop a beat for 4.5 minutes – they evolve it, building up and breaking down around their central tones. Only Almond Blossom gets away with being pretty straight-forward, which goes with that sequencing, of leading us down a garden path, to:

Moneres. Moneres draws a contrast with the other songs, which makes them feel slightly lesser by comparison, pointing out that the three other tracks, while layered, are also pretty set, tonally, from the get-go. One word can describe the overall vibe of these songs. That doesn’t make them not good, but they’re not as deep as Moneres feels, which changes modes – seamlessly – throughout. Granted, it takes more time to do this – 6 minutes – but the benefit of that can literally be heard.

The pairing of Fasme & Maelstrom combines the best of their abilities for a new sound. It’s a lot of fun, and then it’s truly exciting on the concluding track, making one wonder what a whole album from the duo could sound like.