Choicest cut off the EP. Ultra deep, seismic judder kicks with an undulating hymnal dirge that tightropes the line between irritating (and a bit obvious) and faintly haunting. It’s the little harmonising snippets of choralesque refrain that keep it interesting (and quite catchy too).
‘Twisted Brass’ was one of the stand tunes that gripped me by the throat and nutted me off the last ever Boxed show on Rinse back in Oct 2017. An absolute snarler and exactly how Grime should deliver: short blows to the abdomen and straight to the MFing point.
This one off the album he did with Trends towards the end of last year (which I somehow missed?) is even more unrelenting in its brutish orc stomp. He’s kind of playing with a formula now, and fine-tuning, honing the template, but damn, who cares? The man’s perfected the sound system grunt to a T.
I dunno about the waves reference in the title? To me it’s an immersive drift down a long dark river – ‘Aguirre’/‘Heart of Darkness’ etc. each track perhaps portraying a distinct vista or section of the same journey?
Fuzzy, incessant, polyrhythmic beacons pulse in the gloom and murk. There’s the sense of an unknown beyond… and a feverish, indifferent blankness (as opposed to any menace or peril) to the somber walls of impenetrable chattering Amazonian canopy he builds. ’Suffrage Campaigners’ is (possibly?) the heaviest, maze-like cut here on what for me is his best and most complex release yet.
Relative newcomers to the fray this lot, but then there’re always fresh lambs to the techno slaughter eh? It’s like Verdun – it just pitilessly consumes untold souls in the fire.
Draugr gives it a frantic, panic room, mech loop stomp pushing past the 140bpm mark. Makes me feel a bit queasy to be honest – I think it’s fair to call this “drug noise” heh.
Makornik’s LP is a more thumpy, scuzzy, broken affair with dirty, free party vibes. Almost like everything is coated in viscous, sooty engine grease instead of being honed and polished. It blunts the edges and makes the whole nowhere near as angry as the titles want you to believe.
More drum & bass/techno hybrid goodness – that is; d&b tempos but with blank concrete techno facades and shorn of any brok out/booyacka aspirations. No-one’s going to be doing any rewinds on these – they’re from a completely different world anyway. The label touts 011 in terms of “fundamentals” and “reductions” (which is er, minimalism no?)
Overlook flips it to his signatures (and frankly leaves the newcomers on 011 in the dust) – that is; techno tempos and a pungent bouillabaisse of ambient fog banks with a d&b step and stagger and subby boom. Not exactly bangers, more like rollin’ rumblers, dark meditations draped over long, evolving frameworks to glide down the rabbit hole on.
Another UVB-76 Music sub-label curated by Vega & Outlook for “residual recordings documented in static matter”. This crew seem endlessly busy these days.
The hauntology positioning is a bit confusing (although painfully self-aware if truly grasped?) and kind of shoots themselves in the foot really: yes there’s a bit (not that much mind) of surface noise and hiss etc and the tracks ARE indeed neither present nor absent, neither dead nor alive (the eternal ‘techno paradox/impasse’ writ large) but do they really want us to ponder this as we consume their sweated-over output? Something akin to a chef putting his signature dish before you and telling you not to expect too much because after all, its only nutrition?
On their own merit though – as pieces of constructed, linear sound – I’ll take two of these for the bag. I like ’em without the guff just fine: the hypnotic, measured, deliberate glide of Pessimist’s slow, bouncey, break shuffle and Overlook’s ‘Purr’ which has more churning grit and lock-jaw drive but brightens towards the end like a creeping dawn.
I’m not haunted though. In the slightest, although a propos of ghosts etc I’ll leave you with this nubbin: I have an aunt who’s a bit “happy clappy” (Born Again Christian) who maintains that if you don’t belive in ghosts you can’t believe in the Holy Ghost. Ponder that one!
There’s a slightly seedy, pornographic, beaded cock ring and butt plug, masochistic vein to his penchant for toying with the tension and release – the juddering start/stop boom beats, that hold back and never give (on ‘Dervisis’) and the slowed down, teasing pump of the deconstructed, joyless Amen on ‘Kounoupi’. There’s certainly minute crafting in the slithering and fizzing detail beneath, but you won’t find any real climaxes here, let alone pleasure, just an obsessive compulsion with stasis and pervy, lubed-up technique.
I like a man honest enough to concede he wants to produce “monotonous techno” in his PR blurb.
Like he says, this shouldn’t necessarily be taken “as self-deprecating. Instead think stripped-down, hypnotic, repetitive, linear, dark techno loops that intertwine around each other with subtle yet devastating effects, creating a style of techno reminiscent of times long since passed merged with modern forward thinking electronics.”
Yep, check that. Think early Plastikman: Sheet One vibes. Long, snaking, minimalist fade ups to maximalist dance floor strobe thrash. Makes me want to go out dancing and take drugs all over again. Which isn’t a bad thing at all.
47017 – Overlook and Positive Centre debut their collaborative project, Carrier.
Masterful production on these impressively crunchy, jagged, industrial broken beats with a BIG rolling juggernaut of a low end. There’s an infectious, driving, piston funk woven into these tracks as they build and reach cruise speed, surely the result of Overlook’s D&B background and sensibility (over on UVB-76 Music etc). Sound system bangers. As is young Scaly’s ‘Ghroar’ tune below.
47018 – Serbia’s Scalameriya. Normally all I can say about his schtick is Meh! with a shrug; his competent but uninspired, perfectly adequate but textbooky, almost B-list, broken beat thumping and bashing. Still, essays handed in, no matter how badly written, can usually get you at least a C. So finished beats perfect, as they say. All that aside, he seems to ratchet it up a gear and break out for one stormer of a track ‘Ghroar’ injecting the template with rippling sheets of blurting, buzzsaw filth to make it monolithic, quite ritualistic and very nasty. Could’ve/should’ve gone even further though.