Polartape is SaMag's one-man project. If you recognize the name, it might be because in his home country of France, SaMag is a renowned sound designer and music producer in his own right---but last year, with the first polartape release and several remixes for artists such as Rone and Stubborn Heart, he proved his worth on the creative end of the spectrum as well. SaMag's personal studio was where the Hiwegg EP first breathed life---recording, mixing, and production were all completed here---but mastering was done elsewhere by Julien Courtois.
Inspired by the German minimalist approach to electronic music, Hiwegg embraces spaciousness and does not sound too crowded. Tracks such as "Shifted" have moments of light airiness, but for the most part, the sound is rich and pure, utterly dark; it is the most entrancing and thought-provoking style of electronic music, highly reminiscent of Boards of Canada and requiring an active, rather than passive, listening experience. The segue from "Shifted" into "Gong Platz" is subtle yet remarkable. This is haunting, rainy-evening music, with moods ranging from deep, lush, and quietly profound…straight into more agitated and out-of-control territory. The opening strains of "Bloomy Days" are a perfect example. It begins with a long, solitary note, echoing murkily as though an accidental dissonant chord were played on an organ in an empty cathedral. Then the song changes direction almost as suddenly as it began. One of the best songs on the album is the first one entitled
"Piece of work". The song is full of advanced rhythmic programming and warm tones which create a pleasing dichotomy of sounds and flavors.
SaMag wisely chose to combine vintage gear and modern production, utilizing various Moog synthesizers to create a richly nostalgic, timeless sound---but he ensured the production quality remained up to date, and the final product does sound completely clean and modern. Fan of electronic music need to check this album out. It's fun ride that displays Polartape has a knack for combining all sorts of electronic sounds into something cohesive.
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