TBR: 30th August
Ricardo Bruce, better known as Ivy's Hands, gets the number one spot on Berlin's brand new experimental record label. The work is iconic in many ways, including the story behind it. Named after a suicide victim the artist met moments before she died, the feeling of sorrow and loss is placed appropriately on a techno record. While partying one Thursday night, Ricardo noticed a young woman dancing in the spotlight beside him. He then saw she had tears in her eyes. Asking if she was okay, and what her name was, all he got in reply was “Nothing...Leonor”. At the end of the night, he saw the same girl being carried out by an ambulance crew. She was dead. Seeing as she chose to spend her last moments dancing to Berlin techno, Ivy's Hands has made something almost especially for her.
It begins with a full-on synth of many voices merged into one current of luminous sound. Act I (Thursday Night) opens with a euphoric boundary smashing escapism that plunges us into a world of techno. A steady and distorted beat penetrates the mass of harmony to portion the bars into danceable sections. Inflections on key and melody give a subtle edge before a smooth and clean bass-line pokes through the misty noises. Synth and drum curdle together into a whirlpool of intent as the volumes adjust to allow the bass to become more dominant. Making space for all the colours of the dance-floor is part of the techno culture. Next, a dripping melody drums out a glittering tune while echo drums tip and tap across vast open spaces. Gusty bass sonics sweep in bales of moving sound through the various landmarks on the amplified scene. Higher notes, like footprints made by children delicately place themselves in musical bouts of emotional projection. Act II (Dancing With Tears In Her Eyes) has a unique and deep sense of unknowing, a veil lays across the meaning behind the sadness. It builds with a sinister pressure as scratching tones drawl in long and expressive strokes.
Act III (Intention Dormant Own Death) starts on a chunky and metallic sounding bass-line. Quick and snappy notes pound the string while a fuzzy and musty sonic buzz begins to fill the spaces underneath. A real sense of urgent panic and overwhelming disarray lunges us into a cloud of mixed feelings and crooked self-perception. Complicated emotions swell to the surface waters as deep squids of gut feeling dart from one end to the other. A silken melody with ambient nodes flows across energetic and manic flushes of pure rhythm. It's followed by a powerful snare led drum-beat. A heavy thudding bass backs up the snappy punch. Then, a drifting and oceanic synthesiser swells in and begins to carve out a melody. It's joined by trumpets of stodgy sound which fill the insides with a thick and viscous cream. More delicate notes sparkle on-top with boundary-less clarity while surges of bass and matching mid-range froth in churns of motivation. Act IV (Goodbye Leonor) perhaps points at the chaotic scene we would expect when someone is found dead in the toilet. Although wanting to spend her last moments at a party, she preferred to lock herself away for the final moments. Hey, Elvis is said to have died on the toilet too.
This epic EP ends on Final Act & Denouncement. Yes, so this one lucky girl got to become an icon in her own right by being at the right place at the right time, but she doesn't get to enjoy her glory. She doesn't even know, because she's dead. Nothing in the universe can bring her out of her pain and make things happy for her, because if she is still a thing in the universe, she's not connected to her human body. She's not Leonor, now. Background noises of pleasant life as children play out alongside sad and melancholy lines of orchestration. It's enough to make a grown man cry and perhaps that's for the best. Death doesn't just affect the person who's dead, it touches their family, their friends, the people they went to school with, the people they just met. The hollow emptiness left behind by death is something we must do our best to avoid at all costs. Even if it means giving up a bit of our time or resources to help someone out.
Follow Ivy's Hands on Soundcloud
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If you are feeling suicidal, firstly thank you for spending time with The Electro Review. Second, here's the NHS Suicide Prevention page with useful info. Stick around or you'll miss the fun.
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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