Alec Storey is the latest Houndstooth artist to shift phase and re-christen his output after signing to our label; progressing from the Al Tourettes moniker in favour of the more becoming, Second Storey. Whilst his new name might be in homage to the musical path set forth for him by his father, the four-track Margosa Heights EP sounds very little like anything you’ve heard from the Bristol based producer before.
Over the years Storey has emerged and evolved somewhat from the self-styled ‘swamp music’ of his early days, building and growing his artistic palette as he feasted on the influence of people like Portishead, Metalheadz and Herbie Hancock and the electronic music that he found himself surrounded with whilst growing up as part of the Molotov soundsystem on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders. He’s always produced music that’s alluded quite openly to his passions for free party soundsystems and rave culture – the type of music that’s always existed in an advanced state of diaspora - but with his new material he experiments with the very inertia of the music that inspired him in the first place.
His bass-laden techno music as Al Tourettes found favour with Mary Anne Hobbs when she was hosting her deeply experimental late night radio show on BBC Radio 1 and led him to labels like Apple Pips, Aus Music, Bloc’s Baselogic imprint and Hypercolour offshoot Sneaker Social Club, but it’s the breadth and experimentation present on Margosa Heights that gives the EP its slow burning appeal. Saying himself that the individual tracks “represent different experiments both technically and emotionally,” it feels like there’s a definite contrast between the four approaches.
The onomatopoeic opener, ‘Arpy Garbles’, bubbles up through its introductory swells into a wall of tone bass drop, exhibiting the kind of lightness of touch that often gets supressed in modern electronic music whilst ‘Still Seas / Just Mortal’ is a two part staple adapted from Storey’s live set that would be equally at home soundtracking a fictional robotic battle as much as an eyes down, post 3am throng. ‘Margosa Heights’ experiments with loop structure and the idea of tension and release, shifting from subdued melancholia to a lighter optimism halfway through and EP closer ‘Hebridean Mind Tours’ sprawls out through tempo and structure, as a near eight minute odyssey.