Gultskra Artikler – Destroy Music (Umor Rex)
An alias of Moscow-based, Miasmah-alumni Alexey Devyanin, Gultskra Atikler’s latest release ‘Destroy Music’ is a strategic translation of a record collection into a work towering with mischievously manipulated samples. Considering the limitless supply of music now available and the subsequent range of influences that can be plucked from such excess, a gesture like this one feels encouraging. Not only for the coherence with which the samples are drawn together, but for the idea that a seemingly boundless, internet-era taste can be condensed and partly comprehended, as a new work in itself.
Although the track titles suggest a gradual progression of destruction (from ‘D’ to ‘Destroy’ to ‘Destroy Music’ in incremental steps) the airs of the record aren’t of violence or wreckage but of creation out of destruction. There’s a sense that peripheral moments in the source origins Devyanin has used are the ones that interest him, particularly on ‘De’ which, like the work of Aidan Moffat’s L. Pierre project or Axel Willner’s work as The Field, is transformed into a strangely novel loop-constellation which reveals hidden patterns as it hypnotically progresses. Although there are moments where things don’t go all according to plan - ‘Des’ for one, feels like an emotive imposition; a kind of overegged folktronica smaltz – there’s fun and captivation to be had elsewhere. ‘Dest’ destabilizes that most macho-performative of addresses (‘Hey Baby’) into a freakily jocular and surrealist maze of repetition and echo, whilst ‘Destroy M’ is formed of dramatic low-end hum, systematically jittering signals and musique-concrete scribble. It’s in this second half where the vividity of the sound design becomes a convincing ingredient, allowing the fullness of Devyanin’s tape-based treatments to shine through. Even the cosy music-box effulgence of ‘Destroy Mu’ is more than a formulaic stopgap of tenderness due to its measuredly frayed and spaced texture. Devyanin doesn’t destroy but hints at destruction, and excels in that suggestion; this tape release is all the more powerful for that.
My Disco – King Sound (Temporary Residence)
The last release of the Melbourne based trio, 'Wrapped Coast/All I Can Do', was one of the most delicious slices of broodingly seductive noise-dub I’ve heard this decade. The B side especially, excelled in searing eroticism ensured by a vocal that yearned for mind control but also revealed vulnerability (‘Let me occupy your mind/like you do mine’) Set to a backing of unornamented, subterranean thrums progressively beaten and scarred by the kind of sharp inflammations of guitar abuse that their countrymen The Birthday Party roughly traded in, it’s combination of rhythmic constancy and atonal havoc made for one of the most underrated releases in recent memory.
As far as I’m aware this is their first release since that time and their propensity for adamantine incision and spare soundscapes has only strengthened. Any shred of rhythm has been cast out for grisly forge-works mechanics made all the more remarkable for the fact the instruments aren’t synthetic. Although there are flickers of shredded electronics within the mix, the destruction is mostly assured by flat crashes of guitar, eventually mitigated by a cryptic vocal announcing ‘King Sound’ over and over. Again, it’s a great, pernicious assault. Hopefully they’ll get their dues this time.
Dialect – Gowanus Drifts (1080p)
Andrew PM Hunt’s main project is as a member of Liverpool band Outfit. But round these parts, they’re sound feels rather beige and neutered of risk. Although there are striking glimpses of refinement in their work, it all feels fatally safe, as if they were aiming for the cross section demographic where fans of Django Django, Alt J and Everything Everything meet; a place where soporifically plodding, feebly yearning, inconsequential daytime radio fare is the acme of achievement.
Fortunately the same can’t be said for his solo work, the fruits of which have just been released on Vancouver’s 1080p label. Like Not Not Fun and 100% Silk in output and aesthetic – often impeccably rendered designs with a hyperreal zine feel - they’re an outlet which haven’t always been consistent, but when they do it right, they do it well. Unlike the placidity of his other project and the modish short term longevity of some of 1080p’s releases, this feels like a victory in conveying an atmosphere at once familiar and foreign. Rabid dog barks, sirens and sombre ambience introduce it all before we’re led down a coastal dérive. Hunt was apparently inspired by memories of his hometown Liverpool after seeing the shipyards of Red Hook near Brooklyn, where the album was recorded. Such an environment is touched on in both title and sound, with ‘Waterfront Epiphany’ buffeted by recordings of lapping tides, and ‘Wings’ characterised by light seafront airs communicated through circuitous acoustic thrum. Yet it’s not all conventionally restricted to that theme, or at least not in the ways that many would expect. Orientalist instrumentals figure too, as do frequent lilts of brass and, coupled with the chopped churn and gloopy melt of new age, drone, and ambient that surrounds them, they make for an incredibly sophisticated listen. In its sheer internet era abstraction and outré wormhole textures, it recalls the likes of D/P/I or M.E.S.H. if their productions were climaxed with organic flourishes redolent of New York minimalism and occasionally relieved by some of the pastoral warmth of Roedelius. An emotively accessible, curious bit of cohesive sound collage that moves as much as it intrigues.
(Stream the record in full on this immersive URL of gnarly jpeg splurge)
Various – Dark Acid V (Clan Destine Traxx)
Over the course of two years, Glasgow’s Clan Destine Traxx have charged into the more unforgiving recesses of acid with their ‘Dark Acid’ series, an underappreciated fixture split across five EPs and featuring the likes of Torn Hawk, Tuff Sherm, Golden Teacher, Tzusing, and Varg. On this final edition, the trax remain the same, at least in terms of murk and intensity. A clutch of macabre acid broadsides from Shady P, Marshall Applewhite and The Friend combine all the tonnage and functional order of techno with the brain-leak disorientation reserved for more rotten permutations of acid (or acieeeeeeed more appropriately) As far as unadulterated blowouts go, they serve their purpose pretty assuredly but it’s when the compilation treads into divergent territory, ensuring a contrast with these hardcore flare-ups that the release starts to make more sense and come into its own.
Gregor Garnutsi’s sedate, atmospheric fog of indecipherable whispers, sensual synth, and rudimental thump builds brilliantly without spilling into disarray whilst Orphan Swords – who’s other release for Desire Records and collaboration with Ike Yard is well worth seeking out – continue to show a lot of promise with a screeching, torturous serration which abruptly cuts out then sharply intensifies, introducing a noise-corrupted pound that hits as hard as Jeff Mills whilst bloodletting some industrial abuse around the beat a la Throbbing Gristle. It’s a shame this series has reached its final chapter but fortunately that finality has been met with something resoundingly tenacious.
Tapes – No Broken Hearts On This Factory Floor (EM Records)
Jackson James Bailey’s crude and scrappy digi-riddims and the lowriding soundsystem-primed heft that drives them have led to a number of prestigious spots on labels like Jahtari, DJ Sotofett’s Sex Tags Amfibia, Honest Jon’s, Astro:Dynamics and more recently Workshop. A selection of highlights from these excursions and a handful of other cuts form this outing on the free spirited Japanese label EM. The calibre and character of the other labels that Bailey has cropped up on goes some way in conveying the quality and nature of the sound exhibited here. There’s a bare-bones, thrifty ragga-severity to many of the short form instrumentals that dominate the set, but alongside such robust, economical dancehall clout, there are exploratory twists and turns often manifested in effects which sound almost interdimensional. Like Anthony Red Rose modernized by some of Peaking Lights psychedelic synth-led gloss and enlivened by primordial traces of grime and boogie, it’s an 80s sound given a canny makeover, albeit a makeover weathered by damaged tape sonics. ‘Pipe Cleaner – This Weed’s Making Me Nervous (Disco Mix)’ is still the most crowdpleasing production he’s put his name to. Imagining it slowly eradicating the foundations of any club is enough to excite even those more averse to these bass-heavy affairs. But there’s plenty more packed into these rowdy, crackling lo-fi dub nuggets. Sixteen tracks and not one outstays its welcome.