Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Plug Research
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Techno, Experimental Techno, Experimental Ambient
Elephant & CastleTransitions[Plug Research; 2012]By Alex Phillimore; March 30, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGDavid Reep has had something of a broad geographical residency during his lifetime – living in various states across the US and for several years in England – so it's no great shock that his music is topographically diverse. Operating under the moniker of Elephant & Castle, named after the famous London location, he seems to have embraced some of the darker urban styles of British artists such as Burial in his mostly instrumental, atmospheric LP, Transitions. The same sort of eerie vocal samples are utilised, making Burial a natural comparison; and yet, with less of a focus on clicky beats and more of an interest in ambient noise and jazzy interludes, Elephant & Castle certainly succeeds in demanding your attention.
Elephant & Castle is a one man army who’s got some powerful allies. Operating under that moniker David Reep has built a surprisingly successful name for himself. Of course, upon close inspection his early success isn’t a surprise. He operates in a field of music that’s become increasingly self-reliant, stale, and blatantly repetitive.
David Reep, the Bay Area beatmaker who records under the name Elephant & Castle, brings a unique sensibility to his experiments in loops, samples, and ambience. "Messy but pretty" seems to be the operative concept: every track features lots of crazily layered samples, lots of sonic cracks, and lots of surface noise, but tunefulness and groove always (or almost always) emerge from what appears, at first listen, to be a sort of benign sonic chaos. They emerge most captivatingly on tracks like the gorgeously disconcerting "RGB .
Oakland sound engineer David Vincent Reep hits hard with the nostalgia on Transitions, his first full-length album of electronica as Elephant & Castle, out on the L.A.-based Plug Research label. He’s not conjuring actual nostalgia for all the good times you had in the summer of 2006, or whenever, but rather anticipating a yearning for echos of times to come, or perhaps of a past moment that didn’t stick the first time around. In so doing, the album churns up a head-melting mash of unusual samples, lush, ambient electronica, and sparse jazz beats.
Imagine a mashup of concepts instead of beatmatching, one that is produced with the idea of vintage music manifested through modern ears. Oakland producer David Reep is doing just that. Only, instead of a top 40 hip hop track colliding with a classic rock anthem, he digs for slick pop/ obscure vintage vinyl, manipulates it beyond recognition and introduces beat samples.