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Ekoplekz – Intrusive Incidentalz Vol 1

Punch Drunk

The title is revealing: throwaway and heartfelt, this is certainly intrusive (this is not ambient, except in the sense of enveloping) and it is a little incidental, a little sketchy in both senses of the word (cf everything else by Ekoplekz) but there’s more to it than that. There’s something else here. This is Ekoplekz unleashing his noise horde and the title might almost be read as a minor apology, a little note to the many fans out there that says: don’t worry, this isn’t the real Ekoplekz album, this is a sidetrack, an open note, a few preliminary dashes. This feels like a deliberate attempt to destabilise, to show us that we haven’t got Ekoplekz yet… maybe he’s worried that those scary hauntological folks will adopt him against his will like a Madonna child…

This is a suffocatingly intense album, leavened only the relatively short track times, and it’s a great credit to PunchDrunk that they are releasing LPs as uncompromising as this one in this age of thick-arsed austerity and the Golden Mean. A couple of tracks (mine’s a white label, I don’t know which track is which) sound like a human kidnap victim struggling inside a deep metal coffin, just audible, almost giving up on ever being rescued; some of the rest sound like electronic instruments being scraped across the floor, followed by a Copicat. On one track, the levels flip all over the place, causing a minor neuro-headache as I tried to follow. Throbbing Gristle’s 2nd Annual Report is also referenced extensively here and in some of my favourite tracks there’s a groove of real, degraded menace and a definite feel of being recorded on a condenser mic somewhere across the room.

There’s one track which is lighter than the others which could almost be something off Aphex Twin’s second album; loops rolling and slipping off one another, slowly sliding in and out of phase but Ekoplekz isn’t letting you settle; the next track sawtooths these gentle melodies off at the neck in a vicious assault, worthy of Maldoror. If you liked the previous Ekoplekz releases you’ll probably like this one too, unless you haven’t really been listening too closely; the signature sounds are all there, just a little more corroded, even less beat driven and murkier, more difficult than its predecessors (which are now definitely pop by comparison). There’s still the odd beautiful, simple, melody in here but this time they aren’t foregrounded and are forced to struggle their way to the surface.

Sometimes they don’t get there. I like that.

-Loki-

Ekoplekz: Devil Mixture from Jade Boyd on Vimeo.

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