Stone Tapes 001

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!

 

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Bryan Chapman: 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs (Monotony)

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.

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.

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?

Oscar Mulero: Acceptance (Semantica)

I don’t often dip my toe in the IDM pond these days (and I normally run a mile when faced by enormous discographies/back catalogues and business like release schedules of the likes of Madrid’s own Semantica here…) but this EP from the Spanish DJ veteran seemed to shine with a veneer of class and crystalline focus that makes it pretty captivating. It drifts and judders simultaneously, not exactly weightless or lost in zero gravity (except at the end maybe, on the appropriately titled ‘Exhale and Expand’) but with an absence of stress and strain. That doesn’t make it too innocuous or blank either – there’s some intensity and pressure on ‘Acceptance’ and particularly ‘Edges of Mortality’ with its shards of paranoia.