After a series of digital self-releases as Secret Circuit, late last year saw the release of what might be Ruscha's sturdiest work to date, Tropical Psychedelics. The record saw him refining his heat-dizzy tropes into a slew of ragged vagabond jams, noteworthy for their almost effortless sense of momentum. Now, with the first full-length released on Tim Sweeney's Beats in Space label, Ruscha returns to the guise for Tactile Galactics, a series of analogue workouts that meld krautrock, simmering slo-mo house and Balearic rock into an album tailor-made for the first sweaty days of summer.
Tropical Psychedelics was content to drift and sway, but Tactile Galactics is set on forward propulsion. I wouldn't dance to it, but if you lie on the couch and bask in its summery comforts, your feet will begin to twitch. Tracks like "Higher Heights," "Escargot" and especially "Afterlife"—released as a teaser earlier this year—set the album's swirling, space-bound tone with slow, strutting synths and kosmische undertones, their interlocking melodies darting in and around each other before Ruscha's voice settles in on top. "Nebula Sphynx" is grittier than many of the offerings here, with an analogue synth blast that seems to sizzle beneath its muscular machine rhythms.
As the album enters its finale, Ruscha reclines into some of his most graceful and stirring creations to date. "Exalter," for example, overlays its astral arpeggios with a thick beardo guitar line, which ascends into a state of near weightlessness. "Milk" is a first-dawn ambient closer, its synth melodies softly bumping along its slow drum machine roll like water in a shallow creek-bed. They're moments of patience and withdrawal at the end of what is probably Secret Circuit's best work to date.