Disguised under the moniker Beat Pharmacy,
New York-based South African-born techno producer Brendon Moeller
resumed the ambient dub project of
Banco De Gaia
but in a much simpler and steadier format.
Earthly Delights (2005) is split between
straightforward electronic "polkas" (New Dawn) and
dub-psychedelic dances (Race Track Jockey).
Constant Pressure (2006)
features several vocalists (Allan Hope, Mikey Dread, Paul StHilaire, Ursula Rucker) but their contribution is negligible. The stylistic range is much broader,
lounge-ready Afro-funk-jazz shuffle Tangerine
to jungle polyrhythms with detached flute wails of Caramel,
from the sprightly, breezy Velocity to the
slow heavily-accented reggae Slow Down, culminating with the
fibrillating and very syncopated Floating.
Steadfast (2007), perhaps his most accomplished
production, boasts the cosmic and jazzy Drifter, the
bold and primal Frozen
and especially Dub Rocker, an odd beast with a
rocking riff, a charleston-like rhythm and a generally "acid" atmosphere.
Beat Pharmacy assumed the persona of the
sociopolitical bard on Wikkid Times (2008), that
contains only one instrumental (the standout, the Moroder-esque House of Love with a festive Mexican-esque fanfare).
Moeller already had a second life as Echologist, a project first documented on
Explorations Vol. 1 (2005) a
lush excursion into
ambient house, fusion jazz, Afro-funk, Madchester psychedelia and dub.
Midnight Dub, Sculpture Dub and
the terrifying single Dreadscapes (2005) represent the frightening
side of the project;
the hyper-kinetic Hypnotech and the jumping relentless
Crispy the ludic, jovial side of it.
For a few years, however, Echologist only survived in the single and EP formats.
Notable singles include:
the rousing funk-jazz Strut (2006), with a messianic flute,
Faith - Tokyo Mix (2007), a funk shuffle with an anthemic Latin-tinged
fanfare, the Caribbean carnival-esque Hustle (2009),
backed with the more austere dance-steps of The Sweet Smell Of Psychosis,
and the spastic Connect (2010), littered with alien synth blips.
abandoned that facile dancefloor style for the virtually beat-less ambient dub
of Subterranean (2011).
Subterranean is abstract soundpainting that uses muffled, distorted
beats as found debris in a sonic wasteland.
The beat becomes a gasping steam engine in Deliberate (and eventually
disappears inside a hissing mist).
The beat is drowned in spaced-out, aquatic effects in Creation (and at
the end all that is left is a pumping heartbeat).
Instead, the slippery hazy Ritual (Phased Rework) reconstructs a beat out
of irregular bubbles of spacetime.
And Slow Burn (2010) is the notable exception, a more conventional
upbeat techno dance.
Beat Pharmacy returned with the
propulsive techno single Pump (2010).
One of his most creative compositions,
the psychedelic and galactic Spark, appared on the anthology Earth Tones 5 (2013).
The four-song EP Tricks Of The Trade (2013) contains the impeccable
clockwork Jive at Five.
Meanwhile, Echologist evoked a cubistic version of the
African jungle in the single Buzz Factory (2012).
Storming Heaven (Prologue, 2013) contains
one of his most engaging techno locomotives Down The Rabbit Hole,
and another eruption of good vibrations appeared as a single,
The Mechanics Of Joy (2013).
The album overflows with sound effects and technological trivia, from the
stuttering industrial rhythm of Next Exit to
the neurotic anti-ballad The Frequency Of Love,
to the psychoanalytic horror atmosphere of Guilty Pleasures,
to the apocalyptic march of Storming Heaven,
the android ballets M13 DPO and Lost.
Unfortunately, half of the album is disposable because it recycles
The four-song EP Geographic (2013), instead, contains the glacial
metaphysical techno locomotive of Impossibility.
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