Sunday, 14 June 2020

Ekoplekz Complete. Nick Edwards ReBegins.

Last year Ekoplekz aka Nick Edwards called it quits. As far as I know the Ekoplekz moniker is finished with. Edwards has been quite mysterious over the years appearing and disappearing on social media. A few months back I noticed he had popped up on Instagram only to disappear recently. In the last 12 months he also joined and then left twitter again (don't blame him, twitter's fucking toxic). Anyway during correspondence late last year with one of his record company people, I was told his fantastic 2019 tapes Metabolism and In Search Of The Third Mantra were to be the last new Ekoplekz recordings ever.

Ekoplekz is finished but you can't keep a good man down. Nick Edwards is back under his own name with a new digital album For Now, Our Desire Is Nameless. This one's on a more minimal tech tip. The opening tune Watching is a subtle repetitive minuscule lock groove that he has somehow made mellifluous. The Same is a lightly defective neo-cosmic jam. The push and pull rhythm of Old Things could have made it an absolute banger but it's like rhabdomyolysis has occurred and it's barely hanging on to its anaemic life. Definition is a standout tune that feels like a homage to the glory days of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction milieu. Track 4 On Higher is supreme pulsating enviro-electronic-ambience. Screens has got to be the most minimal thing he's ever done as it shape shifts out of its psychedelic circular pattern and almost dissipates as it unfurls into tiny wisps of sound with a Carpenter-esque sting as the album's finale. Wow this is pretty fucking elevated stuff. It feels really meticulous but these are live improvised jams which makes me think he has mastered his craft to a sublime degree. 

Recently though there has been a whole lot of archival activity over on the Ekoplekz bandcamp page. Edwards has been putting every little bit of Ekoplekz's audio history up on this digital platform to properly catalogue and conclude the ten year Ekoplekz era. I believe this project is now complete. So for starters he has put up Volume 1 (2010) which was the first Ekoplekz release. By the time I became aware of this limited to 20 copies cdr and its abridged second edition of only 50 copies they had all been snapped up. Luckily someone uploaded it onto a sharity blog at the time and that's where the obsession began. Edwards describes this as primitive unproduced early demos recorded on a four track cassette.

Now if you thought it was hard to get your hands on Volume 1, it was virtually impossible to your hands on Doctrine: 789305 (2010). This private press tape of less than 10 copies was only given to his friends! Edwards says he never had any intention of this ever resurfacing again but some of his friends told him that it was one of his best recordings and urged him to release it. So voilĂ  after finding the master tape at the back of a drawer Edwards has put it up on bandcamp for you to download digitally. His friends were right this is easily one of the best Ekoplekz albums. Doctrine: 789305 is full of splendid crunchy dubbed out no-fi electronic goodness. Ekoplekz hedz need to hear this!  

Volume 2 (2010) is the third Ekoplekz release and it was another private press cdr of just 50 copies. I've never heard this one either so I was pretty excited to see it on bandcamp. I gave up on ever getting a version of this album years ago. I know some of the tracks because they were on that Pontone mix which must have been done in late 2010.

I did not know this even existed. This 2012 recording might just be the ultimate Ekoplekz release. I fucking love these berserk noisy electronics and the two 20 minute tracks totally suit this delirious saga of radiophonica. Discogs has The Nunton Complekz filed as an artist name. I dunno, maybe it was an alias. Nick Edwards was quite fond of an alias like Ensemble Skalectrik, PLKZFX, Phlekz etc. Then there were his collaborations eMMplekz (with Baron Mordant), EKOCLEF (with Bass Clef), pHarmerz (with Farmer Glitch) and so on.    

If that wasn't enough for you or you already had those obscure early releases just hold on to your horses. On the first of this month Nick Edwards unleashed the motherlode of Ekoplekz rarities. Wrekage 2011-2019 is an hour and forty minutes of tracks that have previously exclusively appeared on other compilations. On the bandcamp page this compilation is described as "An anthology of orphans from the main discography." This is the most diverse collection of tunes ever issued under the Ekoplekz moniker. Wait for it...there is a cover of Syd Barrett's Late Night with vocals and psych guitars which is.....well, to put it mildly surprising.

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