John Matrix: Telekinetic / Lambs to the Slaughter / Depth Gauge


Speaking of shattering and bleak. Just been checking John Matrix’s catalogue and feeling a lot of his tunes. If you’ve had enough of all the reggae/rasta shenanigans clogging up the bassbins this will definitely blow away the cobwebs and bring back your headbanger’s neck ache.

This is very tightly wound, aggressive, amphetamine fuelled, grinding teeth business. On the 140bpm mark but with thuggish trap vibes and hints of gnarly d’n’b filtering. Sounding like a wine snob here…Cha! If that’s beginning to sound too much like Brostep, fear not, it’s on another level. (Inadvertent nods perhaps, especially on ‘Yactus’, to the criminally sidelined Search & Destroy/Toasty breakstep crew circa 2004?). ‘Telekinetic’ is the smasher here for me.

‘Lambs to the Slaughter’ dropped on Copenhagen based dubstep label Cue Line Records last September. It reminded me a little of Dylan‘s in your face Freak/Outbreak output when he was cranking them out at a rate and stirring up trouble in d&b circles (a decade ago now, can you believe!?). I could do without the recurring voice/movie sample snippets to be honest and my own opinion is that all his tunes would be colder and heavier for their omission but hey, whatever. His choice. Tunes is tunes, not economic crisis. Where ‘LttS’ succeeds is in creating a far more frenetic momentum than its 140bpm pulse would normally dictate. Locking into pile driving 4/4 sections it thrashes around the room like a bunch of aggressive straight edge kids at a Black Flag gig, almost hinting at brittle, run-it-red breakcore dynamics in places. Definitely for the squat rave DJs.

My personal favourite though is one of his older tunes ‘Depth Gauge’ off the Head Off EP (again on Cue Line). Once you get past the trite Hip-hop MC/poet schooling, it drops into a sparse, clanking, cavernous, A.I. driven slice of heavy industry manufacturing, thick oiled pistons and synched, hissing stampers beating and shaping the form down the length of the line. No deviation or human interference in the process (except that f**king idiot MC sample ruining it).

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