Amphibelle is the first release from the experimental glitch producer Futexture in almost four years. The intricate arrangements, masterful sound design and thematic continuity across the six-track EP suggest that this long hiatus has been kind to Futexture aka David Krantz from Asheville, North Carolina. The music is inspired by the “movement and archetypal expression(s)” of water, according to David, who describes how he was “knee deep in a slowly moving stream” when he was “overcome by an extremely intricate and overwhelming auditory hallucination” prompted in part by the rushing water. Amphibelle is David’s attempt to recreate and depict that experience in sound. As such, it’s only appropriate that the record is released to the world by Aquatic Collective.
The six songs at first sound vastly different from one another. In this way, the composition is all over the map. By no means is it sloppy, though, it’s just difficult to identify by genre, or to associate it with common tropes or genres other than “glitch” (Amphibelle has many of them). There are common threads woven through the entire release. These include complexity in sound design and arrangement and an auditory imitation of the infinite expressiveness of water.
The second half of “Syntax” is nothing short of incredible. The stacked frequencies forming the lead melody are chill-inducing. The melody sounds almost like a blues waltz played out on synthesizers that surge forward in high contrast to the light background riffing on keys and pads. In the background, minute glitches patter like the sound of pouring water. “Plengi” again has aquatic synthesis, although now it’s more robust, like a gush instead of a trickle. Atop a quasi-dub aesthetic, an emotive mandolin plucks away in a style between four-bar blues and classical Spanish playing. On this track, Futexture demonstrates his knack for designing sounds that are crisp but not necessarily musical, and arranging them in such a way as to give them a musical function.
“Through the Edge of Never”, particularly in its reprise or second half, offers a beautiful sonic glimpse of the duality between the chaos and order inherent in a rushing body of water. A stoic set of chords contrasts with a heavy archetypal breakbeat laden with saturation and heavy reverb. The title track, though, has to be the superlative song on the record. The array of audio material crammed into this one track is dizzying. It pivots on a dime again and again from one soundscape to an entirely different one while somehow still maintaining a sense of thematic continuity.
All 100 percent of the money spent on Amphibelle will be donated to help provide clean water for the Secoya tribe in Ecuador and help the tribe buy back ancestral land they were evicted from in the 1940’s (learn more at amphibelle.com). Although Futexture has been quiet for years now, fans still express the impact that his earlier music made on them. This release reestablishes that Futexture is indeed still operating on an elevated playing field, creating experimental electronic music in league with any of the style’s great practitioners.