by Process on FatCat Records
Now based in Cologne, Process is the work of Brighton exile Steve Barnes.
Having previously released material on the Ultimate Dilemma label (under the name Blueshift), Barnes made his debut under the Process alias with an early, yet seriously underrated 12” on FatCat (12FAT021 – June ‘98). Whilst that release scratched out a flickering, low-key ambience that lay close to the foggy, shimmer-and-fuzz of Gas or Berlin’s legendary Chain Reaction label, Process’ new work marks a bold yet logical shift in approach. His FatCat split 12” from December (12FAT034, shared with French newcomers DAT politics), rapidly sold out and has again drawn great critical acclaim.
Still produced and sequenced on Barnes’ favoured Kurzweil sampling keyboard, the ten tracks gathered here on CD, and eight on vinyl (including one exclusive) build a self-assured and propulsive dynamics, moving closer to the hypnotic minimalism of Mike Ink’s Studio work.
Slowly building, tracks are formed from warm, abstract sounds, carefully shaped into a percussive tapestry of stabbing offset rhythms and EQ-tweaks. 4/4 beats are overlaid with mesmeric loops. Textures hang and morph like gas-clouds. Drawing the listener in, each track forges its own, distinctive space, flickering and shifting, expanding and unfurling before your ears.
‘Shape-Mod’ is an extended re-working of an electro-based track first heard (and enthusiastically received) in Process’ set throughout the FatCat tour of Germany last summer; whilst ‘Popbeat’ and ‘Shape-Mod (B)’ expand on Barnes’ individual sound / style. The ‘SMP-K Options’ tracks make evident their means of construction, the titles referring to a sequencing function within the Kurzweil.
Processed yet organic, sensuous and intelligent, ‘Shape-Space’ blurs definitions, and negates any gap between body and mind, between the pleasures of isolated home listening and the physical pull of the dancefloor.