Jesse Osborne-Lanthier: North Face Killah

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Sticking out like an iceberg on the EP – this (first couple of minutes…) is powerful low end, tsunami, bass power noise with impressive menace and build.

A one off maybe? because the rest of the material succumbs to the leitmotifs of label boss Rabit (and the obvious temptations of sucking up to the boss, clearly) – jittery, scrunchy, spastic, stop-start, sonic doodling without intent. All very archly ‘abstract’ and ‘détourned’ flubbery sound design à la IRCAM/Stockhausen, but to what purpose who knows?

We often talk about music, or frame it, in terms of “going places…”, “going somewhere…” but this goes nowhere, and not in a good way either (like Satie’s ‘Vexations’ or La Monte Young drone marathons say?). It’s just f***ing irritating listening.

Rabit: Communion

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Lackluster, infuriating? or just disposable and instantly dismissible? Is this the contemporary conundrum? Caught between the ADD and mindless craving for “more” of the social media generation/addicts and the online “like” hype and bluster of the progenitors themselves. Why even bother to release albums anymore? I’m genuinely lost for words with this particular one even after multiple listens. I wanted to like it. I follow and, more importantly, support his output by purchasing the material. I like what I perceive he is sonically stretching for. I’ve listened to this stone cold sober; after a few beers; blind drunk, but it irritates and annoys me in all states.

The simple fact of the matter is there are no bones or balls to any of it. It feels obtuse and wilfully obscure. What he may think is discipline and tech skill can just as easily be dismissed as pretension, even arrogance. “Snow Leopard” my arse! (I’ve tracked one in the Karakoram my friend and only ever saw its footprints, much less imagined a shitty racket like this as a soundtrack to their elusive beauty). Any of these tracks would bring a dance floor to a rapid standstill and see punters heading to the bar or for a smoke. Nothing wrong with that. So then as a listening album where’s the focus? It stutters and farts and crashes and jackhammers away, coated with the usual soft synth pads, washes and cod sci-fi FX/design, disappointingly veering into the weakest and most tired of breakcore undynamics. Only by the end of the 7th track “Pandemic” do we get any sense of slamming groove or focus evolving. And “Burnerz” finally gets into gear (for all of 3 mins or so) in a kind of vintage Italian Broken Beat stylee (think SNS, Anibaldi, ADC and their ilk) But by then so what? There’s a limit to the interest one can hold to repetitive “deconstruction”.

This should by rights be the last statement Rabit makes in this area, but after his even more useless and wretchedly awful 12” with Dedekind Cut on Ninja Tune I fear the man really has disappeared up his own proverbial.

I had a History teacher at school who used to score through whole paragraphs of our teenage scribblings with a red pen and capital letter “WAFFLE!”. Funny I should think of this and in my cantankerous middle age fully appreciate this now, but there we have it. Waffle indeed.

TSVI: Set You Free EP

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A cryptic underground feel to this release. Not much info out there on the artists involved, (certainly not much evidence of anything in the same vein on their Soundclouds) a seemingly newish London Bass label but right on the money with the territory they’re exploring.

Sharing some of the deconstruction aesthetics of Rabit or Bloom this initially feels firmly bedded in Techno foundations (particularly ‘Yeah’) but becomes more hybrid Grime orientated the further one delves into the tracks.

The Lokane remix of “Headshot” is heavy on the disorientating psychedelics and splintered, heavy and jarring in its own right, but unquestionably it’s the Luru remix that really heats up the mixing desk and runs it red to maximum slamming effect, saving the best for last. Full of the right amount of gritty distortion, swirling spatial trickery, gnarly rollercoaster peaks and G-force troughs this is true industrial Grime. You just need to be right out in the middle of the dancefloor for this one. Absolutely blazing!

Bloom: Hydraulics EP (Crazylegs)

Cold Grip

Difficult to decide who to discuss here. I could equally have chosen, but would also file in a similair vein, the Deke Soto ‘Black Ice’ track & Rabit’s ‘Thug Rotorvator’ off the San Pellegrino compilation Raw Club Material Vol.3, but Bloom wins the day for sheer looney mechanoid construction and polished chrome sound.

This is proper headphone listening as well as soundsystem intent; the layering and spectrum ranging from super tight, straight down the middle kicks and bass hits, to reverbed sweeps and panning that stretch far into the distance on tight elastic recoil to bounce straight back in your face. ‘Dark Light’ is probably the finest example on the EP and not without its own slow building groove buried within; it still retains enough to not descend into total funkless abstraction. The old dynamics of tension and release get dissected to shards and small statements pasted together with volumes of silence, echoes and pauses, almost as if Bloom has simply muted or discarded his drum tracks.

(Note: I would say Aphasic (Ambush Records) was possibly attempting a not disimilair, disjointed, deconstructive approach with his “moving in several directions at once” production ethos??).

Logos: Cold Mission

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One thing to point out – I’m no music journo and I never really enjoyed writing about music so don’t expect any deep insights here ya get me? All I have is my instinct and my thirst for finding new veins in the rock face. But this album….this album definitely blew me away on all fronts and almost single handedly got me buying and hunting down tunes again. When I heard it I just knew something ‘new’ was going down and I suddenly felt I had a lot of catching up to do. Kind of on a par with hearing Underground Resistance for the first time, I felt the old obsessive trainspotter awakening again.

Andrew Ryce’s review on Resident Advisor is pretty much on the money in articulating the albums scope and power. Yes, I guess it is part “grime deconstruction” (the removal of “vital pieces” for sure) but I also agree it’s the “silence”, the “quiet”, the spaces left inbetween. More on Logos later….