Techno tempos but hewn with an industrial hammer and chisel with no thought for fussy detail or finesse. “Wild and harsh like the White Mountains of Crete” they say. Yep, sometimes that’s just what you need – the no pretence of a course grappa, something monolithic and stripped down; brutish repetition and rhythmic noise basslines.
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?
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.
1. Tommy Four Seven: 47013 (47)
2. VSK: 47011 (47)
3. Stave: Black Hills (Standards & Practices)
4. Sam KDC: Of Myth & Mercury (Auxiliary)
5. Ghost In The Machine: One Louder (Perc Trax)
AKA Sawf & ANFS, showing strong industrial literacy on the relatively new Athens imprint Kafta.
Two big tunes for me here: ‘Lisiaxte’ hammers out a leviathan beat of panning 120bpm fuzz, convulsing in a filthy radioactive swamp of bass murk – stifling in weight and reduced parameter. While ‘Ami’ belches out dismal, fog-horn pulses of polluted bass into a necrotic landscape. No compositional peacocking here, just brute repetition and creeping electronic drone that almost feels ritualistic and existential by the end.
Another fine drop from Athens’s ANFS. ‘Skafto’ slowly ramps it up, with unswerving pressure build; it teases and teases and never really drops. ‘Olatatzi’ is almost like an industrial John Carpenter thing. Small hours urban paranoia, with a phat fuzzed out, druggy, strobe vibe.
Top notch snarling, cone ripping broken beat business from the boss man. Levelling! 47 are definitely on a roll at the moment and setting new standards.
Couple of stand out tracks for me here:
‘Wreck‘ is admirable for its almost pagan, industrial war dance, round the burning fire, vibe; no hand shake at all, as it lines up the cross hair and delivers the projectile coup de grace.
‘Carrion‘; nice blippy, early AFX, industrial electro tip with ebm-ish vocal scouring that doesn’t swamp the vibe.
‘Concrete Desert‘ is my top tune; a looped, nuclear detonation strength, kick explosion that emits a levelling fallout cloud. Bleak, so bleak.
The Don of dirty, broken beat, industrial techno in my opinion, might even put him over Perc…
“Dreamtime” is so phat you can’t even turn up the bass on the mixer! And it gives me straight flashbacks to mid ’90s Magnetic North/Drop Bass Network et al carnage; all those driven red hot, thrashing machine boxes, barely contained by the producers – any little nudge of a knob just letting loose another flailing, feedbacking, analogue stomper. That’s what it often felt like (for a while anyway heh); a wicked trip to follow down the rabbit hole out on the dancefloor.
From the evidence here, the machines still rule if you know how to harness the energy and Hare truly rinses the fuck out of his! expertly reining it in on a shoegazey, beatless breakdown and then unleashing sprays of sparking, arterial voltage all over the slamming, merciless funk to finish it. Total Destruction! Respect due.
I’d pretty much forgotten all about the original Zhark Recordings (and overlooked many a tune having now gone back and checked the back-catalogue). Still heads down, ploughing their furrow. Quality murky broken beat techno-step with aircraft hangar sized spatial dynamics and vocal incantation drift and acidic squelch. It expertly builds up the arms-outstretched, backwards free-fall into the k-hole. Proper dark.