Purelink – Signs LP


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“Chicago three-piece Purelink descend on Peak Oil – the label that gave us those essential Topdown Dialectic editions – with their most luxurious and gaseous set yet, fracturing dub techno with foggy ambience somewhere between Deepchord, Shuttle 358 and Pan American.

Formed in 2020 by Tommy Paslaski (aka Concave Reflection), Ben Paulson (aka kindtree) and Akeem Asani (aka Millia), Purelink have spent the last three years establishing themselves as players in the contemporary dub-ambient scene, with ‘Signs’ developed from compositions the trio assembled for performances across the US. Their sound is soft and billowing, but grounded by bass weight, in places reminding us of that specific turn-of-the-century sound epitomised by the likes of Opiate/Dub Tractor, or even Move D’s excellent Studio Pankow, arcing into the sort of Chain Reaction-fuelled trajectories found on Huerco S’ debut album.

‘4k Murmurs’ is a standout, betraying a featherlight jazz quality that seems to hang in the Chicago air. The spectre of ’90s post-rock isn’t far from this one, haunting its faint, echoing percussion and stifled electric piano phrases, but using it merely as colour, fleshed out with narcotic pads and burbles. The faded quiver of dub techno is still there in the background, slowed down and stretched into a gauzy blur, but those dub vapours become more fully present on ‘Stadium Drive’, and the euphoric release of ‘Pinned’strips the kickdrum of its drive through sloshing electronics, field recordings and transparent vocals.

Unsurprisingly, the trio are just as adept at working in beatless mode, sculpting billowing harmonies into dreamy, clouded shapes on ‘Blue’. But the finale ‘We Should Keep Going’ is where they sound strongest, puzzling out unusual, steppy rhythms that echo into the void, chopped against children’s’ voices and faded electronics. It’s like ‘Geogaddi’-era Boards of Canada blended with a Batu track at half speed – whimsical, but rhythmically impermeable. ” — Boomkat Review