Perc Trax Records
TBR 17th November.
Noisy and dirty, this industrial techno floor filling release calls on the high energy of eye shaking bass and powerful rhythmic strikes which curl and repeat until a mesh of seriously thumping sounds make the whole. Rhythm is dominant here, and as British Steel begins on its title track, we're yanked by the collar into a beat driven realm of ferocious techno.
Returning to Perc Trax for the first time since last year, having been touring extensively and working on his own South London Analogue Material netlabel, this marks a cornerstone in the progressive career of Ansome with choppy and catchy memorable sounds.
Marching Powder throws the direction further south, as a filthy and metallic grinding sample rips the track open for the thrashing tappy tappy drums which fly by like lampposts from a moving train window. The quick step beat compliments the name of the track, and a repeating bass fill resembles the rhythmic shouts of a drill sergeant.
The filling of the track, like a meaty sandwich, has sections that are full of gristle. It can take a bite out of us if we are not careful. Full on and intense pressures make sure that listening to this music takes up most of our inner space. The mood is upbeat however, and although forceful, there's no reason to fight it.
Poison Your Body has been a part of Ansome's world tour DJ set for a while now, and has become somewhat iconic of the artist. A recognisable intro riff prompts us to get back to the groove from where ever we've wandered off to and to take part in the party. Wobbling bass and chunky drums cause the atmosphere to blur around the sounds, with a vocal sample thrown in to prick the ears in a certain direction.
This surprising long mix of just four tracks finishes with Granite and Mortar. Having been subjected to three intense and g force heavy tracks of full on techno and rhythm, the finale peaks the journey curve extremely well. Starting out with an intense and passionate vocal clip, the emotions are brought to the boil with the onset of a heavy and industrial throbbing beat. A fat bass underpins the entire cosmos of this track, allowing for a sonic playground for us to get our heads around.
Preorder/buy Ansome British Steel on Amazon UK
No Mask Effect
We are dropped into the lonely zone with this spacey and far reaching minimalist release. Atmospheres of tranquil emptiness reverberate with the inner self talk of sound and manufactured noise. The slow and drawn out progressions entice a reclining listening position, and give plenty of space for the mind to add its own interpretations over the top of what's already there.
Being the founder of the Psychonavigation label, Keith Downey, aka No Mask Effect is a busy man, so appreciating the epic and storyfull landscapes of experimental sound and ambient music takes a new level of depth. Tracing the atmospheres to particular phrases is hard, as the ever changing and gradually shifting ambience reveals little but a slight prompting for mental exploration. Much like looking at the sun, it's hard to see the source but its light brings everything else to life.
Ten generous tracks make up this landmark release, and they fit together like a relaxing jigsaw that has curves instead of plugs and sockets. The track titles give us insight into what occupies the mindset of this sound sculptor and atmosphere infuser. Psychonavigation being track two gives the impression that N.M.E. Is asking himself what this entails and perhaps attempting to inspire the act of it with the summoning of spiritual and electronically enhanced breaths of sonic mystery.
Towards the end of the release the reverberated sounds of a train station platform almost remind us that we are on Earth, and give us the journey home in a helpful visual jostle. Listening to the sounds of familiar machinery and the distorted muffles of an announcer gives a human tether that slowly brings us back like a hot air balloon.
Buy Beings on Bandcamp.
Father, Lord and Wizard
Cluster Node Records
TBR: 1st November
Opening track, “Can't Change Weapons While in Combat” starts with a buzzing sensation that is wrapped around a strange echoing sample, which builds and then throws a pulsed melodic rhythm into the middle. A bass drum begins to thump along with the beat and the volumes adjust to give some breathing space for the intense recipe. Manic throws of looped synth give a surging feel which although passes quickly adds some serious velocity to the listening experience. Rich and intense delivery with ample experimentation give this techno based abstractica a chewy and meaty sensation.
Driving beats replace the thumping pace, the tempo maybe static but with the shift of drum pattern comes a change in air pressure. Lighter touches but fast moving scenery is given way from the previous thunderous clunking. Said sensations reveal themselves as only on a short break, a before the music stops, the heartbeat is made prominent several times. “Father, Lord and Wizard” is the second number on this 3 track EP with the same title. It begins with a warm but cacophonous orchestral section that begins to show signs of repetition before having effects and strange audio experiments added to it.
Slower moving but sonically inviting, a dreary edge is draped over shimmering cymbals while subtle build ups gradually increase the incline. A new angle is given some light as a high pace hi-hat is included in the mix, to be joined by strange and slightly disconcerting organic instrument sounds, which howl like spectres on a foggy moonlit night. Mechanical atmospheres are pulled into sidings to ease the track to completion, making way for the final number on this diverse and digestible release.
“We Found A Corpse” begins with an interesting and moody relaxation groove, which has a gradual influx of sound as a fast paced but non-intrusive tapping marks the introduction. Metallic clangs and sparkling displays of treble based lighting evolve and pull everything into the middle. The amalgam is eerie and enters at an awkward angle. The slope which we must climb to be drawn at the same pace of the progression is quite steep, but it doesn't take long before a bass drum is added to help us along. A quick pace and a narrow bandwidth of sound gives space for mental adjustment until a new section is marked by expressive ghostly swirls and strange distant bells.
This debut release from Outlander is interesting and has plenty to do within the three tracks. Destined for the dance floor, and possibly a few homes, the unique and recognisable tracks make use of repetition and rhythm in novel and listenable ways. Mostly a full on handful of tracks, with a few intermittent sections of tranquillity, Father, Lord and Wizard makes a great first impression and leaves room for plenty more experimentation for the future.
Pre-order/Buy Outlander Father, Lord and Wizard on Amazon UK
Broken Mirror Single/E.P.
TBR: 27th October.
Cool grooves spring immediately from the first release “Mirrors”, the A-side of the single/EP, a retro inspired pulse keeps the time alongside some happy clappy hi-hats while a spacey wobble throws everything slightly from side to side. The loop builds slowly creep their way into the mix, as every progression takes form, something new calmly enters the sonic experience and without quibble, suits the pre-made sound fabric perfectly. As the piece evolves, a quirky melodramatic yet fun-loving use of scale manifests in a leading melody which seems to carry no repetition at all. This kind of composition leans heavily on the principles of jazz.
The double B-side, “Broken Mirror” and a remix of it, take a slightly darker side of the same initial framework. Although similar in may ways to the A-side, the presence is gloomier and something that may match the atmosphere of an underground club complete with strobes and brightly coloured beverages. Totally different perspectives give the sound a new flavour, with a similar tempo and formula, the rest is original and as fresh as the opener.
It's been a prolific year for Mullaert, Broken Mirror being the third short release by the multi-musical composer and mixer. Techno vibes from one end of his reach mingle with classically inspired whistles and pitch work that could only have been reflected from the performances recently made with Tonhalle Zurich Philharmonic Orchestra. This previous experiment had successfully connected the worlds of traditional classical music with modern-day electronica, and perhaps it is a sign of more things to come.
The release is available to pre-order on vinyl from Amazon UK and soon also on Amazon US.
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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