Pharma – Cobalt [HNYBSS Premiere]

He’s lead us through dark, underground dungeons, journeyed through unseen corners of the underworld and strolled through expansive, solitary landscapes but for his latest project, Pharma ventures even further into his expanding audio-verse. ‘Transcript‘ is a coming of age project from the Austrian, a documentation of his unique, ambient sounds all wrapped up into eight curious tracks. Although today’s premiere of ‘Cobalt‘ is one of my favourites, the entire release is an everlasting highlight and the epitome of Pharma‘s flourishing sound.

The study of Pharma‘s ‘Transcript’ begins with a swift transition from deep cinematic drones of the intro ‘Dot Minus‘, to the huge pensive swells of ‘Kraftwerk‘. A track that feels like a complete journey on it’s own, ‘Kraftwerk‘ leads with Pharma‘s classically moody, 808 lead arrangement, amidst a tidal wave of breathy undulating synth. Complex and skippy hats flow towards a massive change up in the track’s current, dropping into swinging 2-step with deep low end pressure and funky, body moving kick patterns. The sub frequencies float into deeper waters, grow in aggression and eventually sail into a torrent of powerful sub-low pulses. A bona fide journey-tune that requires a life jacket.

Turning the page, ‘Redhands‘ will instantly become the soundtrack to your next late night drive. Sobering pads echo through desolate streets, simmering percussion reflects the speed and the addictive flow of empty roads. It’s chill on the face of it, but the direction of travel is intense as we drift around many corners. Subtle textures form, from analogue crackles to unexpected trickles, it’s a track with such aura, an aura I haven’t experienced since Burial‘s glory days. Pharma sticks with the midnight vibes on ‘Hourglass‘. Similarly drawn-out, whispering FX freely rise and fall at the heart of the track, this time bolstered by a sequence of robust kicks, with lovely glassy and glitchy textures for good measure.

A release full of countless switches and trans-formative patterns, a release where Pharma has really gone all in regarding inventive patterns and dreamy ambience, ‘Tejmar‘ could be considered the pinnacle of ‘Transcript‘. Whilst the rollercoaster low end movements remain dizzying throughout, Pharma yet again produces more spicy, dance-floor friendly patterns that not only grow in detail but eventually drop into another 2-step barnstormer. The addition of haunting keys and alien-like FX towards it’s climax are intoxicating and perfectly Pharma.
After a selection of intense atmospheres, complex drums and ethereal textures, today’s premiere ‘Cobalt‘ moves into more familiar areas for the gifted producer. With booming 808’s, explosive snares and eerie arpeggios, ‘Cobalt‘ has that perfect balance of vibrancy and moodiness that we’ve all come to expect and enjoy.
The following ‘Husk‘ sticks with the immersive melodies, featuring a whole arsenal of instrumentation and diverse tones. The uncanny paranormal vibe sits perfectly at the end of the release, as we’re reminded what Pharma is all about, leaving the short yet dramatic outro of ‘Ergo‘ to lead you towards that replay button.

When flicking through the pages of ‘Transcript‘, both the creativity and musicianship is glaring. Pharma has clearly made an effort to level up on this one. The characteristic sounds and ambience of his creations are still present, but the variety and the complexity has hit new heights and for me, solidifies the talented Austrian as one of my favourite active producers right now, as it should you.

‘Transcript’ is out 02/10/2020 and available to download from Pharma’s Bandcamp.

Check out Pharma on Soundcloud.