At first listen, Justin Broadrick‘s latest outburst of noisemongering — here incarnate as JK Flesh in industrial electronic style — might just be a assumed to be a bit too content to stick to the tried and tested formula of harsh beats, dubby echo effects and the sound of a machine drum stomping on the human corpus forever (or at least for around an hour or so).
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Continue reading JK Flesh – Nothing Is Free EP […]
A member of both Khing Kang King and Old Apparatus, No Pasa Nada is LTO‘s second solo outing of haunted dubscape electronica. The EP shifts slowly and recursively across four tracks of gritty textures washed languidly in a bath of tape-hiss, echo and reverb, feedback and all (with the occasional environmental recording of rustling clothing or running water dropped into the mix for good measure).
Operating somewhere in the vicinity of the dubbier end of minimalist dubstep without ever falling squarely into the genre — or any other for that matter — though LTO’s sensibilities are definitely of a kind related more to the feeling that dubstep had when it first emerged rather than in the recent ravetastic commercial bastardisations of
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Drenched in reverb and hissing in on waves of shimmering, steam-like vapour trails, Desire uncurls itself in sinuous ripples and grain-shifting rhythms. While the music fits generally into the shapes and forms of ambient(ish) electronica, Derrick Stembridge‘s supple approach is at once of its kind and thoroughly modern in its detail. The little flurries of effects which modulate and mould every sound are controlled with a precision which manages to retain a human-friendly warmth among the machines in motion.
What words there are stutter and flicker in abstraction, reminders that there is life outside the self-sustaining rhythms, floating melodies, swept-back interludes and some occasionally downright funky electronic basslines and crunchy beats which can easily provoke moments of attention-pulling appreciation. If comparisons need to
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A slab of 12” electronic whoomph and wibble which brings forth the gloopy analogue joys of sequenced machinery bowing and scraping before the altar of the DJ booth. “Self-Perpetuating Fun Loop” does exactly as it says, whirling around a central set of repeated motifs with the terpsichorean energy of a pilled-up dervish in search of the perfect gyre. Synthesised sounds chirrup and slop until the breakdown comes, but here – again, as the title confidently stated – the swing is decidedly and expansively upwards rather than just on the horizontal plane, Bass Clef taking the mood into widescreen jubilation before an eventual dissolution.
At the heart of Ralph Cumbers‘ sound is a BugBrand modular synth*, lovingly hand-made by the legendary
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Deep Fried Dub are on a bass mission to quiver the livers of all who enter to within a five kilometre radius of ground zero around their bass bins, it would seem; because every track on Slow Cooked, whether presented in rootsier style, teched-up or given the dubstep wobbleover is a binshaker of the highest quality. Breakbeats and stepping rhythms are flavoured with horns, skanking guitars and fragments of vocals of an expectedly euphoric, raggamuffin and/or Rastafied variety (though sometimes the robots get to have their voices heard too, as on “Condensor”). This is music square-wavedly aimed at the dancefloor – which probably should be reinforced, as should the supporting walls – if the amount on bass to be heard
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Donning a swift alter-ego for a heavyweight re-rendering of a pair of Black Sabbath classics, Aaron Funk proves that he’s as adept at the dub(step) as he is at splattery digital grinds when the Venetian part is elided from his Snares moniker. It also comes as no surprise that the record should appear on Bong-Ra‘s label Kriss, given his [post=”bong-ra-grindkrusher” text=”penchant for mashing up old-school grindcore in a breakcore style”] himself.
One for stoners of both the rock and dub variety everywhere, the lovely marbled green 10″ vinyl heaves with heaviosity, the splicing of “Black Sabbath” with wobble-bass is one reggification which works on so many levels, and it sounds like the tune was made for splicing into a dubstep haze of clattery drums and earth-shuddering low end. Funk’s bassline follows the original so closely that it’s
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Label: Planet Mu Format: 2CD,2LP
London duo Vex’d are to be found operating at the murky point where dubstep meets bleep, where grimey shivers fuss and bass drops rumble. The sounds collected on Degenerate take the momentum of dark drum’n’bass into yet edgier territory; the kind of places Witchman was hinting at years back, but with a particular atmosphere which is yet more gloomy — if that’s possible — and sure to bounce chiaroscuro shadows off the walls with the weight of its intensity.
That density can become ponderous under the minor key inflections of shivery electronics and the febrile rhythms, but the maismic dub undertow propels matters into convincing plateaux of low end dynamics set off by flurries of MDMA spine tinglers and tearing, doomy percussion. As the album progresses, elements of the best of breakbeat scientists and industrial gloom
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Label: Planet Mu Format: 12″
The Lesser Spotted Burberry EP could as easily be a paean as a pisstake, but there’s no doubting the fervour of Henry Collins‘ approach to beat-mangling. “Ellesse Warrior” swoons from driving mashup to celebratory breakcore with a dizzying sense of humour in the application of a hint of ragga and a good dose of manic intensity. Peppered with progressively more and more dissolute snippets of a drugged-up chavvy anecdote which merge with the bulbous beats, the evil synth swarms and some hardcore gabba pounding are interspersed with the occasional trance drop to underpin the storyteller’s tale of living it large.
“My Crew, My Pills, My Chain, More Gain” continues the story, flaying the samples and beats alike with a generous hand, meting out the licks with alacrity and a twisted grin
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Label: Planet Mu Format: CD
Bringing together a selection of 12″ tracks and a scattering of remixes by DJ Hellfish, One Man Sonic Attack Force showcases his penchant for mashing together Hardcore Techno and Gabba with HipHop and making the results bleed. “U Don’t Quit”, with its rumbunctious MC extolling the vitues of party-busting breaks demonstrates just how much better the uptempo beats of chart-friendly acts like … could be when the right amount of weighty distortion is applied. Hellfish’s “Steelfinger” remix of “Iron Hand” does similar to the over-familiar trick of sampling “Kung-Fu Fighting”, so that those seminal “Woh hoh ho ho” quotations introduce a tune which proceeds to wreak havoc on The Speed Freak‘s original plundering. The BPMs rack up woozily against the fragmented vocal snippets, radio-chatter threats colliding with the tinkly faux Orientalism of the
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Label: Planet Mu Format: CD,2LP
If anything is going to show the diversity and breadth of Aaron Funk‘s talent, Rossz Csillag Alatt Született should. Taking a breather between bouts of full-tilt Breakcore insanity for a little lighter – but not lightweight – electrical string-led conceptualising, this album is nothing less than a meditation on what it would be like to be a pigeon living atop the Királyi Palota royal palace in Budapest. Featuring orchestral compositions as the basis for each of the eleven pieces on the album, Rossz Csillag Alatt Született (try ordering that in a shop in a non-Hungarian-speaking country for a fun way to break the ice) floats on high with a beady eye for detail in the shimmering textures which draw a strangely compelling picture as life as what many regard as little better than
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Label: Planet Mu Format: 2×10″ (Vol. IV only), CD
Updating the sound of Drum’n’Bass as he’s been rinsing it out since the early days, Bizzy B‘s Science EP Vols. III and IV CD doesn’t so much re-invent Junglist mania as restate it with extra oomph. There are no obvious surges into Grimey territory or cheap nods to Garage, but plenty of fun to be had from Bizzy B’s messing with the general form, remoulding and disassembling it along the way. While Vols III and IV offers plenty of straight-up, full-tilt hardcore D&B, the requisite soul diva samples are kept to a bare minimum and the equally well-utilised countown to takeoff and Dancehall MC snippets floating around but thankfully not over-used. On the surface and initally offering up straightforward examples of how to produce genre-set breakbeat frenzy,
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Label: Soleilmoon Format: CD
This is Nigel Ayers‘ twenty-fifth Nocturnal Emissions CD since 1979, and here he chooses to sample, loop and mutilate chunks of Indie guitar music and slam them up against the music of the Third World, old and new. The results are certainly funky, rolling on heavyweight grooves and beats with a deliberate Fourth World flavour, delving deep into the synthesis of Western Pop with Arab, Berber and other traditions, dialectical style, apparently inspired by a night in a Moroccan bathtub with the sounds of multiple nightspots outside swinging erratically to all points of the musical and cultural compass.
In case anyone didn’t get the hint in the title, Ayers is not big on the Wild West-style posturing of Texican presidents either, with track titles like “Burn, Bush, Burn” (has Mr Ayers been to Lewes on Firework
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Label: Ipecac Format: CD,LP
Brimming with fractured beats and an omnivorous musical approach which draws in experimental influences from Industrial, Post-Rock and Jazz as much as from the conscious side of HipHop, Dälek‘s From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots burns with a bright spark of questioning anger, musically as well as lyrically. Having collaborated with Techno Animal, 2nd Gen and Faust on occasion, coming at this outfit from that perspective their dense sound seems natural and even entirely expected – but then putting them in the context of a genre which is still the biggest format for popular music on the panet, Dälek the collective throw several spanners in the works, using them to bash out a harsh rhythm along the way.
Along with fellow HipHop noise sculptors Fever and 4AM, the collective of
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Label: A-Musik Format: 3″ CD
Combining Disco with toys seems like a fun idea, and Felix Kubin‘s Jet-Lag Disco likes its treble really reedy on top of some thumpingly mid bass kicks. Two thoughts spring immediately to mind – Alec Empire‘s hyper-bleepy Nintendo Teenage Robots project, but with more beats and structure, and the fact that this EP was intended for Kubin’s Japanese tour in early 2001.
So things chunder on at an accelerated pace, like computer game music but even more ridiculous – and from before the days when the latest in fashionable electonic music was used to sell the game. The tracks here are somehow more Sega Megadrive than Commodore 64 though, and demand aspirin and a nice lie down afterwards. There’s a spooky-bleepy synthalong whistle and rush through a faux spy movie end-title tune, and a nice
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Label: Expanding Format: 7″
Abfahrt Hinwil‘s contribution to the Expanding Records EVS Series clicks and wheezes to life with “Links Oben”, built around a distracted melody constructed from synthetic bells. The undercurrents gurgle, fizz and whirr with biomechanical trills, keeping the electronica sweetly chilled. “The Light” starts off langorously swirled, rotating on a synthetic textural axis while deep down a bass tone generates vibrations.
A gradual insertion of ticks and echoed clicks passes through, merging seamlessly with environmental sounds in the classic ambient sequence of “was that on the record, or outside?” remarks. Warm and enveloping, “The Light” slips easily from audibility with hardly a trace, but a slight sense of absence remains.
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