ANFS: A Shallow Ascetic (Horo)

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.

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Carrier / Scalameriya (47)

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 sytem 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.

Strobe/Flutter (?)

I was pondering with a mate not so long ago about this ‘development’ that I increasingly heard in 2018 – possibly? or maybe not? of this ‘Strobe’ or ‘Flutter’ style. I hesitate to tag ‘-core’ onto the end of it (‘coz it doesnt have anything near the violence of filterless gauloises Speedcore) and it’s more pulsing and luminescent somehow…almost going beyond discernable beats? I don’t even know if any of this connects in any way to any of the drilling and fracking of the Splitter/Extratone scene? – you’d have to speak to DJ Balli about that. Nevertheless, I saw two disparate name checks of La Peste last year (coming from a Kerridge release blurb and in the PR for that Szare release on Different Circles) so dots are undoubtedly being joined, however feintly, from camp to camp, in surprising new coalitions.

I mean it’s obviously not theta waves, because you can’t hear those! but you feel almost like it’s tapping into some neural, oscillatory, binaural pattern? The drilling is all around us in every day life anyway, from the roadworks in the street outside your window to the hospital (case in point, my poor old Mum recently went through a battery of MRI tests and she messaged me after the first one and said “It sounded just like your music!”).

In fact my mate and I had already chatted about it casually a year or so ago and it was something we were detecting (in bits of 2017 Mumdance sets etc) but there now seems to be enough of a continuum of the device/pattern that, if you were so inclined, you could (almost) make a whole set of it. Which is when you have to ask; is it now evidence of an emerging genre/style? or just a recurring moment, a trope, of studio frustration when faced with the strictures of the orthodox grid of techno and the various production/editing platforms and the cul de sacs you get led up using them. Those of you reading this who have experience of trying to produce your own tracks will surely be familiar with the quick sand feeling of getting bogged down in the micro editing process of the Midi beat grid – and that ‘fuck it’ moment when you you just paint a whole line of 1/32th or 1/64th etc. blocks across the bar to see what happens, in the hope it offers you a stick to grab at. It often gets you out of the hole. A bit like banging an Amen over the top of your struggling composition heh.

Anyway, here’s my selection of tunes from the past year (except the Reeko and die Angel tracks which were 2017). I’m sure it’s only the tip of an iceberg if you dive deeper. Drop me line if you have any others….

Reeko: Engendrado (Avian, 2017)  This tune is pretty mesmeric and fascinating IMHO. Essentially a looped field recording (as far as I can make out) that rises from some kind of primordial soup and turns into full on psychedelic delta/theta/alpha/beta/whatever-suggestive waves of strobing pummel.

Korridor: Opening (Northern Electronics)  A high speed Gysinesque Dreamachine journey into stroboscopic flicker. “Tense minimalist design…an architecture that lets austerity scream.”

Ontal: Vigilante (Horo)  Surely his strongest and best release to date? Absolutely superb dynamic tension. In this case the drilling and rattlesnake percussion seems to free him completely and new territory is definitely found on the other side. (Even perhaps on the first track ‘Ikari’? although it’s not a continuous flutter).

Monotronique: Overdrome (Opal Tapes)  This one’s a bit of a cheap trick. All surface.

Core Beliefs: He Preferred to Kill His Son to Stay Alive (Phormix)  Feed belts of screeching, howling machinery spooling out of control on the production line.

Chevel: The Call (Different Circles)  Softer, cleaner, housier, more ‘designer’ but nonetheless… and bits of the Szare release that followed this one?

Ben Frost: All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated (Mute)  Off the (pointlessly) ‘produced by Steve Albini’ EP. What a pretentious, beardy, hipster dingbat (Frost not Albini). The flutter kicks in around the 4:00 mark.

die Angel: Papyrus (Cosmo Rhythmatic, 2017)  The highbrow ‘arty farty’, electronic festival/noise take on this? I’m sure if you wade through the Mego back catalogue you can find shed loads of this kind of thing?

DiNT: Hooker (Horo)

Must say, I didn’t think too much of this when it came out in March. I’d been playing catch up and listening to a tonne of the Grey Area et al. stuff over the last months so maybe I’d just ODed on the Horo sound? It sounded too muddy and murky with all its (mercifully) low in the mix corrosive EDM vocals and farty bass. I bought it though, like the nerd I am, and persevered with it in the pick-up with the sub woofer cranked on my night drives home. And suddenly I got right into it. It seemed to get better on repeat listens (something that’s not always or often the case). The extended 10 minute ‘Skewer’ was the one that did it for me and pulled me in: the cavernous Doom claps that whip up the vibe at the beginning….but then I wish they hadn’t been dropped out of the mix altogether….something could have really been done with those?

Escape To Athena

A lot of late night online dérives and digital crate digging seem to lead me back into the shadows of the Greek industrial/techno scene’s impressive doric columns these days. Can’t quite put my finger on why it tickles the taste buds so at the moment? but I think it’s the fuzz of the low end; the direct lines; the right amount of noise without over-egging the pudding. Big, weighty, heavy things with oracles living inside.

So we got ANFS and his label Modal Analysis, Vofa (Sawf & ANFS), the Kafta and Vanila labels (see previous posts), then I discovered Pi Electronics, Phormix Records and now OSM Tapes.

The debut tape/digital release by NO/ON is choice; a little bit lo-fi, nice fat distortion, hiss, sheets of noise, (reminded me a bit of the late 90s Amputate tunes or Dan Hekate’s mucky broken beat excursions?) but the tape medium really seems to suit the sound here. (Manni Dee dropped a couple of the tunes in one of his recent Rinse mixes).

 

 

Forget the plate smashing, the latest 14 track Phormix compilation ‘Consistency In Paranoia’ throws just about bloody everything against the wall in a total mezze of synth noise weirdness – and a lot of it sticks. Ouzos all round. Stand out for me is Core Belief’s bass strobing, drone screamer, which I could really do with a whole 4 track EP of similair blueprints of!

Also liked the previous ‘Light of Consciousness’ compilation, which wasn’t so off the wall.


And finally, Mumdance kept playing this tune last year all over his Rinse B2B sets and I got slightly obsessed with it for some reason (and had to use Shazam to ID it in the end heh). Something about that plaintive two note metallic wail drifting in the distance over the infectious beat hammer. Kind of a stand out example of what I hold up as the ‘Greek’ aesthetic; Simple and direct, but dirty and driving.