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VJQC Score: N/A
Album Name: STRATA
Record Label: FLOAT
Format: VINYL LP
Release Date: 7/5/2019

Float presents the next release from drummer and composer Andrea Belfi following on from his 2017 debut album Ore. Strata is an organic evolution of the unique synthesis of hypnotizing drumming and ensnaring electronic patterns Belfi has become renowned for. Strata's inception is due to Belfi's playful experiments with Gnawa rhythms - a music tradition from North Africa that draws from ancient African spiritual and religious songs - with which Belfi created basic guide tracks that were later expanded upon. Strata's remit expanded from these core rhythmic ideas into a mini-LP, spread across six tracks spanning 25 minutes. The introductory track, ''Shale'', consists of melancholic synth counterpoint and soft drones. The title track ''Strata'' kicks in with suspenseful bleeps and restless hi-hats before pacey drums ramp up the tension toward explosive highpoints. ''Fault'', a short interlude, features more meditative moments. Notably, this track sees Belfi playing a self-built trimba, a triangular percussion ideated by legendary street musician Moondog. ''Outcrop'' is built around a pulsating electronic dub beat. The drop of a syncopated kick and mounting polyrhythms underpin the solemn ''Ravine'', before the album comes to a close with ''Plateau'', a driving and sinister conclusion that revisits elements of Strata and the trippy momentum of the Gnawa rhythms. The internal structure of Strata is fittingly built on layers of repetitions and variations across all tracks: ''Shale'', ''Strata'', ''Fault'', and ''Plateau'' share the same harmonic and melodic structure, while ''Outcrop'' and ''Ravine'' are both explorations of the traditional song formula. All tracks except for ''Plateau'' - which can be understood as a techno remix of ''Strata'' - were recorded as live studio takes incorporating the sound quality of the studio space. The album was recorded by Simon Goff at Vox Ton in Berlin and mixed by Rocco Marchi at Obst und Gem?se in Bologna. Capturing the impetus of Belfi's formidable live performances, Strata's skillfully builds up momentum to it's explosive final release.