Walton: Inside (Tectonic)

Walton

 

Slowed down Grime vibes. The Don Dada of polished chrome construction and bada bing beats and bass. Sound system cool and deadly for sure.

Advertisements

JoeFarr: Death Becomes Us (S.L.A.M) + Don’t Be Afraid The Remixes (UX)

There always seems to be more bass coming outta Bristol. Can’t fault these for the slamage damage and precision separation of the frequencies; it’s OCD, Groundhog Day, caustic loop hell all the way (triggering possible flashbacks to the mid-90s analogue hardnoize days?)

Which is the fly in the ointment really, with all this contemporary industrial techno innit (and my pet topic to moan about) – it’s SO fuckin’ clinical and pernickety it almost feels sinister, like a spotless plastic surgery clinic, the producers now all well trained technicians, nipping and tucking your MDMA rush with the (albeit very) skillful tricks of their trade, but with a kind of detached boredom? “Scalpel….suction….swab….forceps.”

On his own User Experience label he ran a remix competition (Britain’s Got Talent?) for his track ‘Don’t Be Afraid’… there were 146 submissions! (and only 4 made the record). That’s A LOT of man hours for a fairly slim to none return no!?! Make of that what you will, but it says quite a lot about the times we live in. Zero Hours contract techno anyone?

UVB-76 Music: 011 & 012

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.

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!

 

DROOGS002 / 003

And speaking of Bristol and rave stabbing – leads me nicely onto DROOGS, the rather pointless sub-label of UVB-76. Natty artwork though.

There’s nowt wrong I suppose with some straight down the line, functional, D&B if you’re young and insist on your own own re-boot scene and practitioners to follow. I mean Aspect’s ‘Stand Clear’ is a ‘tune’ of sorts. Possibly. To some? – albeit a tried and tested one. Fuck it. Perhaps I’m the mug here? and it’s not even worth asking the question anymore – why people bother to spend their time creating such facile re-arrangements of such familiar sonic objects? This is Steve Carr/Digital and fam’s (Spirit, Total Science etc) ‘Dubzilla’ (2002) sound and era to a slavish T. Barely a tweak!

Honestly, purchasing these tunes was like a drunken shag with the Ex. You know you shouldn’t. Perversely, for some unknown reason, probably just because it’s easy and you can, you go with it but regret it as soon as the deed is done. The familiar pheromones are in your nose, on your skin again, but it’s too late as you remember all the hurt and pain you caused each other in the past.

Lurka: Heat Mover / Battery (Timedance)

Mr. Benjamin Tregaskes on Batu’s label.

Like a cloud of depression lifting, it feels liberating to get out of the plodding murk and scuzz of ‘Berlin-based’/Industrial/Techno and its ilk. Feels like I’ve been stuck in that swamp for too long – or possibly that I just don’t try hard enough to escape sometimes?

Things are always cleaner and smoother Bristol way though, and funkier too – there’s a good dose of futuristic polished chrome detailing and trim in the vibes without forgetting the sound system end game.

Lurka puts a top swing to the chugging beat here, without any processed cheese and combines it with a heavy subs battery and filtering rave stabbing.

Walton: Black Lotus (Tectonic)

There’s a clinical sheen to this LP – and I mean that in a good way; that feeling (and chemical smell) you sometimes get when you open up some brand new gadget or pair of kicks you’ve had your eye on for ages; the boxfresh, straight from the factory moment. Also a monastic, almost martial art simplicity and restraint to a lot of the beat and bass mongering (that in the wrong hands is just plod, like say Youngsta’s schtick, but here attains the finesse of handcrafted Japanese blades), a deliberate pacing for the subs to really breath and hit lower. ‘Point Blank’, ‘Mad Zapper’ and ‘Angry Drummer’ are my top tunes here.