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Craig Sopo: Below the Line EP

Craig Sopo: Below the Line EP

Label:More Or Less
Release Date:2008
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Craig Sopo

By Michael Byrne | Posted 6/18/2008

Someone should make a bumper sticker: baltimore needs more techno. We've got indie rock, club music, hip-hop, punk, metal, and whatever you choose to call the molten Crayola 64-pack of Wham City, but how about a little science fiction? Recent Baltimore-by-way-of-Michigan transplants Craig Sopo and Patrick Brander, together known as Bmore Electro, are working on it. Last summer, they started their monthly Depot dance party More or Less--named for a local message board of the same name--and this month finds them inaugurating their first release as a label, Sopo's Shell Tones EP, two tracks and two remixes of the sort of to-the-bone minimal you might find lurking in the catalogs of the Minus or Spectral labels.

The uptempo, jacking "Shell Tone," which crosses the line into more straight-up tech-house, is the star here. The beat pattern is simple enough through the first couple of minutes, but at about the two-minute mark things start to really clap, hiss, and generally get congested and urgent, and then the synth rises out of the mix and takes the track off autopilot for a nice midsong break. The roofied blabber vocal that creeps around things is a nice, weird touch. Josh Dahlburg's remix is fine enough--he adds a wealth of busy high-end percussion, and what of the low he does leave in gets a dub treatment. The more abstract "Prospect Street" is less dance, more listening--moody, atmospheric, and a whole lot going on in the mix--but Brian Kage turns it into a chugging, near-angry monster with his remix. The atmosphere of the original becomes a dense, dark thrum, and at the four-minute mark (it's nearly eight minutes total) the bass hits the floor in distorted, filling-rattling pounds. Needless to say, in the past couple of years' talent rush on Baltimore, we're glad techno didn't get left behind.

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