DUST OFF: Aquila – Ritual EP (Aerial Recordings AERIAL 002 – 1996)

In the 1990s, Juice Records (with artists Dirty House Crew, DJ HMC, Cinnaman, etc.) were major techno and house exports from Adelaide, and from down under overall. Adelaide was also the home of Aerial Recordings. Local artist Matthew Thomas set it up, resulting in only two releases under his Aquila moniker. I picked up “Cycle EP”, the label’s 1996 debut, when visiting Toronto. Sadly, I sold a bit later because it sounded like Ian Pooley’s “Silvershower” EPs, and Plus 8 was a more famous label too … In fact, “Cycle EP” is still a great two-tracker.

Subsequently, “Ritual EP” was haunting me for several years, after listening to the sound clips. After daydreaming about a nice copy in dusty bargain bin, I moved over to Ebay, to get it for €100. It’s the highest price I’ve paid for a used record so far, well ahead of Mike Henk’s EP.

“Ritual EP” is worth every cent, and even more emotionally. Two long, tunneling tracks between techno and trance, and one of the best definitions of ‘ritual’ in electronic music. Both sides offer well over ten minutes of sonic intercourse in analog hell. My favorite is the A-side where grinding sequences are topped with rave whistles.

The artist used the Aquila moniker for releases on other Aussie labels Psy-Harmonics and Undefined Recordings, all of them belonging to the hard-to-find category. Luckily, Thomas has uploaded some early Aerial Recordings releases to Bandcamp and in addition he maintains another site with new and more experimental and ambient inclined works.

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