Datacide 18 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

Rebekah:
My Heart Bleeds Black EP
[Mord]
Mord is one of those nosebleed techno labels I always keep tabs on but rarely end up buying (much like Perc Trax or Melbourne’s Green Fetish). They pump stuff out (too much really) at a prodigious rate, within a very bleak and blasted demarcated zone of production parameter but always leaving me with the suspicion that a lot of it, despite artist names, different artwork, titles etc, could easily be endlessly interchangeable without anyone noticing. Back in the day that used to be the very liberation of techno/rave/etc of course, so I’m not knocking them individually in any way, if that’s the gig they’ve chosen – they’ve certainly carved out a niche, but it just comes back to that perennial question, how much more of ‘this’ do I really need? I mean no one can really claim that this is ‘new’ in any way – “The Beat Just Goes Straight On & On”, and on and on etc. (If you remember that annoying big Perry & Rhodan trance techno tune on Rising High from 1993?). It’s just a palimpsest now.

I never imagined 25 years ago, when I was young and dancing to, and already buying, this kind of music (in its absolute infancy) that it would STILL be hammering away – or that the young people of today would still even be interested in pretty much EXACTLY the same thing, virtually unchanged. Frankly I would have been horrified at the thought. And if you’re feeling particularly sour (which I often am) you can be even more dismissive of this un-shifting canon. Most (if not all?) of this genre is imitative reproduction, already familiar and exhausted. You can theoretically (or physically if you must prove a point) check any release at random, in any format, and the first bar will bring the boredom of familiarity to your ear (spot the reference) and more depressingly still, only anticipate the boredom of the, albeit normally clinically well-produced, bar to follow! This is EXPLORED TERRITORY people! where the product matches expectation and desire; the place where all things turn out the way we want them to, where formalism has won the day.

Then if we’re whipping ourselves up into an imaginary frenzy, like the Central Scrutinizer (Zappa reference Compadres, heh), we can rant about this order being just another bullshit tyranny and STULTIFICATION, mere hierarchies of place, position and cultish authority. The producers are all seemingly “Berlin-based” now after all: retro-flash tattooed, ears tribal-stretched, modular set-up, vegan, straight-edge whatever, mastered at D+M, by Rashad “Bloody” Becker, 180g Ltd Edition pre-order vinyl, jetting to London next week to play at Corsica Studios, then on to Sonar or some such for the closing set blah blah blah. The Rant Just Goes Straight On & On…

Keepsakes: Perspectives From A Sterile Hellhole [Haven 001] & Ayarcana/Keepsakes: Music For The Vitriolic Age [Haven 002]
I thought I’d found a mildly interesting antipodean relative of Green Fetish in Haven earlier this year. Starting as an Auckland club night run by Keepsakes and Jaded Nineties Raver, ‘Haven’ was apparently something of a (self proclaimed) hub for New Zealand’s small underground technocentric dance music scene. Until they became yet another “Berlin-based” label that is…FFS! This is beyond a joke now people. The artwork looked promising (reminding me of PCP’s SS sub-label, all prowling masked gangs) and titles like ‘Mind Your Manners Munted Millennial’, ‘Face Struck With An Axe’ and ‘Populist Piss Pot’ suggested a Bloody Fistesque sardonicism. There’s not too much to dislike really (except the elephant in the room – the existential question mark hanging over this genre) or indeed to set it apart from the rest of the pack for that matter. What can you really say about industrial techno now anyway? You’ve heard every variable before; you’ve read every adjective to describe it. Industrial grit – check. Crunchy – check. Gnarled – check. Crushing – check. Driving – check. The tick box exercise is embedded in the tracks’ own riveted-in-place formalism. I could go on but you know the score. Do you need this in your record bag, or collection? Do you want to hear this out at parties? Should you support this brand from the already swollen ranks? Like saying no to a third beer down the pub when you only popped in for a cheeky pint on the way home from work, this is a question of DISCIPLINE now, not personal taste, that only you can be responsible for.

Mickey Nox / Ike Dusk
[Green Fetish]

[Read more →]

Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

Various: Osiris Music 50 [Osiris Music UK]
Simon Shreeve (one half of Kryptic Minds) has been in the bass music game since the early ‘00s and stacked up and impressive, heads-down, grafting, back catalogue to boot, turning out drum and bass, dubstep and lately, finding his true voice over the last few years, in more crossover techno excursions under his Monic guise on labels like Tresor and his own Osiris Music UK.

There are definitely some parallels to be made with Pinch and his Tectonic/Cold imprints in their shift towards merging dubstep with techno and deep house into new broken forms and in building solid stables of rotating, like-minded artists. The labels rarely disappoint in scope, vision or production values; they’re always highly crafted, tech, never overtly “experimental” but always pushing the envelope with a moody restraint. Sometimes this tendency can end up sounding a bit muted, a bit formalist for sure, but then there’s a sense of an embedded long game involved, not for radical short, sharp, shock treatments. It’s horses for courses innit.

This compilation marking the fiftieth release is a well-picked sampler of the last few years’ output, with plenty to pique an interest in further exploration of the back catalogue for the uninitiated. Definite highlights are the two Monic tracks, and Killawatt’s cyclical, gritty, bass wobbler “Pressgang” from 2015, still sounding out there as a front runner (although nothing’s yet to surpass the belting, syncopated broken beat Monic version of Manni Dee’s “Sister Nobody” from 2014 in my opinion).

Ian Martin: Sleepwalker [Panzerkreuz]
Viewlexx continue their run of low-key re-presses/re-releases, this one originally from 2013. Never heard of him before? But I’m impressed enough to go digging after this. Quite an achievement; to make a record that seems to synthesise an entire hallucinogenic trip, or the soundtrack to some unfinished, budget-pulled Italian zombie flick. The tone stays within an eery, almost John Carpenteresque, lo-fi Bladerunner Vangelis vibe throughout. Simple, direct, lush, detuned – you’re transported to bleached out, dystopian film rush clips off the cutting room floor; empty suburban shopping malls, streets before dawn, radioactive sunsets, and lonely drug abuse. [Read more →]

Datacide 16 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

Alert
Mindscan
[Oblivion Fringe]
In space no one can hear you scream. These are maybe not prime time dance floor tracks, but both are expertly crafted and pristinely cold, languid, metronomic, deep-space probes that strap you in and take you far into the void. The engines cut out and you float, suspended, contemplating the silence of eternity. Both cuts as solid and airtight as each other.

Aluphobia & Hataah
Lynx
[Babylon]
A fine, short, cut of ethereal, psychedelic Bass minimalism. Like lying back and watching thick curls of skunk smoke floating lazily in a pale winter light while tinges of paranoia develop as you wander what you’re doing with your life.
The drop out into (little more than) a murky thudding heartbeat seals the track’s expert reined in dynamics.

Aquarian
Bad Feeling/Insulin
[Hanger Management HNGRMGMT001]
His best and most slamming release to date and probably my favourite Bass release of the moment. Drenched in dark warehouse rave vibes, he’s definitely beefed up the low end and fine-tuned his chopped breaks and kicks aesthetic. In fact I would go so far as to say; no-one does it better! Proof that keeping it simple always leads back to something stronger. ‘Bad Feeling’ could almost be of Somatics/SNS/ADC/Anibaldi Italian broken beat vintage, just as ‘Insulin’ hints at a Mover vibe too! This is a must for any fans of that era/sound. [Read more →]

Datacide 15 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

Rabit
Communion
[Tri Angle 32]
Lackluster, infuriating? Or just disposable and instantly dismissible? Is this the contemporary conundrum? Caught between the ADD and mindless craving for “more” of the social media generation/addicts and the online “like” hype and bluster of the progenitors themselves. Why even bother to release albums anymore? I’m genuinely lost for words with this particular one even after multiple listens. I wanted to like it. I follow and, more importantly, support his output by purchasing the material. I like what I perceive he is sonically stretching for. I’ve listened to this stone cold sober; after a few beers; blind drunk, but it irritates and annoys me in all states.
The simple fact of the matter is there are no bones or balls to any of it. It feels obtuse and willfully obscure. What he may think is discipline and tech skill can just as easily be dismissed as pretension, even arrogance. “Snow Leopard” my arse! (I’ve tracked one in the Karakoram my friend and only ever saw its footprints, much less imagined a shitty racket like this as a soundtrack to their elusive beauty). Any of these tracks would bring a dance floor to a rapid standstill and see punters heading to the bar or for a smoke. Nothing wrong with that. So then as a listening album where’s the focus? It stutters and farts and crashes and jackhammers away, coated with the usual soft synth pads, washes and cod sci-fi FX/design, disappointingly veering into the weakest and most tired of breakcore undynamics. Only by the end of the 7th track “Pandemic” do we get any sense of slamming groove or focus evolving. And “Burnerz” finally gets into gear (for all of 3 mins or so) in a kind of vintage Italian Broken Beat stylee (think SNS, Anibaldi, ADC and their ilk). But by then so what? There’s a limit to the interest one can hold to repetitive “deconstruction”.
This should by rights be the last statement Rabit makes in this area, but after his even more useless and wretchedly awful 12” with Dedekind Cut on Ninja Tune I fear the man really has disappeared up his own proverbial.
I had a History teacher at school who used to score through whole paragraphs of our teenage scribblings with a red pen and capital letter “WAFFLE!”. Funny I should think of this and in my cantankerous middle age fully appreciate this now, but there we have it. Waffle indeed.

Ipman
Depatterning
[Tectonic TEC088/TECCD020]
In contrast to Rabit’s fart-in-the-wind of an album this just seems to get better on repeat listening and feels like a well researched, deeply knowledgeable journey through past and current genres.
I have to call him out though. His biggest, most shameful faux-pas is kicking off the whole thing with an utterly by-the-book old-school breakbeat ragga re-fit(shit). Absolute derivative nonsense. By this stage I think we all have to agree there’s nothing more to say or update on the matter. My advice: avoid, delete or fast forward. It’s a better listen without.
Skirting the edges of Deep House, Techno, and Bass, the rest of the material proves a masterfully tech exploration of route finding. There’s no pointless probing or faffing around on the arrangements. They choose their line and go for it, taking in their influences without fuss and with almost casual confidence.
“Gravity” is long slow builder; a subby, banger that kills it on the breakdown with a re-polished, wobbly, reese and vintage doomcore claps. [Read more →]