I loved Octave One from the moment I heard “I Believe” in 1990. Its original mix and the Juan Atkins mix contained a futuristic optimism that was unavoidable and totally infectious. I could never track it down on vinyl in Ireland when it was released — US imports weren’t that easy to find in smaller cities like Galway. One weekend in ’91 I went on a recoding shopping trip to Dublin, a very fruitful one that turned up multiple records on Nu Groove, some Unique 3 twelves and a very rare EP on KMS (choo choo, trainspotter alert). I asked in one of the stores, which had a great selection of Detroit stuff, if they had or could get me a Transmat copy of “I Believe” by Octave One or anything on 430 West. The assistant in the store said he was positive that Sugar Sweet Records in Belfast had one. He gave me a number and told me to ask for Iain McCready.
When I returned to Galway I duly did this and a package with “I Believe,” a few Hi-Bias records and the U.P.I. EP with “That String Track” on it arrived in the mail shortly thereafter. When I started writing for XLR8R in ’95 I made sure to contact 430 West so that I could review their fantastic records, as I had managed to scoop a few early releases while still living in Ireland and just loved the label. This review below was probably my first of a 430 West release. Please enjoy and remember that you should believe in “love lasting in eternity.”
Detroit’s Burden Brothers, better known as Octave One, continue their sterling track work with this double pack collection of sparse, but atmospheric, and very groovy tunes. Great emphasis is paid to a tribal approach, but the tribal feel is much more inventive than what we are used to. A good example is the opening track, “The Sign”, where the beats have a steely feel and are bathed in warm, horizon seeking strings. This track also features a very effective and dramatic breakdown. “F-Operative” is driven along by a low slung bassline and a strange muted organ that is reverbed several times throughout the track before a whistling synth melody joins in to intensify the strangeness of this groove (but, it is a groove, nonetheless).
Side two has “Hiero-Rhythmics,” a stripped down drum track, and ‘Jazmine’, a garage mutant from New York in a desolate future. Side 3 features a similar pairing in “Redemption” and “Continuum.” Side 4 closes this collection with ‘Terraforming’, a tribal garage workout that has a nagging selection of sounds and cold, haunting strings, and “Envision,” a selection of beats and strings, hydraulic soundings and a very barren feel. A strong selection of grooves for minimalists, be they of a house or techno persuasion. CO